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Companies all over are recognizing the many benefits of a four-day workweek.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is how to adjust in order to overcome the many challenges we have to face. This sentiment can also be seen throughout the workforce as companies are changing policies, redesigning workspaces, and adjusting how they serve their customers.
Many of you are aware that the work-from-home industry has bloomed over the past two years. Companies realize a lot of tasks can be done from anywhere worldwide. This pandemic has also encouraged companies to institute shorter workweeks. Businesses all over are now implementing four-day weeks and have seen significant benefits. Some are even considering a two or three-day workweek.
Places like New Zealand, Japan, and Iceland have already explored a four-day workweek trial and have found great success. New Zealand, specifically, ran tests from 2015 to 2019. Their employees’ pay stayed the same as they worked shorter weeks. The conclusion of their trial led their unions to renegotiate working patterns, causing 86% of their workforce to have either moved to shorter days with the same pay or the opportunity to gain the right.
Establishing four-day weeks has improved the well-being and productivity of New Zealand, Japan, and Iceland employees. Also, in places such as Spain and Scotland, government officials have decided to invest in their citizens by providing companies with public funds to experiment with shorter workweeks.
This phenomenon has been so helpful that some companies are even taking pay cuts to have a more flexible work schedule and a shorter workweek. Companies such as 4 Day Week Global advocate for four-day weeks worldwide. They have found that 63% of companies have found it easier to retain and attract talent with a four-day workweek, and 78% of employees are happier and experience less stress. They have also conducted case studies that you can read here.
Clearly, the pandemic has opened many of our eyes, and we now see things differently. People all over seek more opportunities to work from home or have more flexible hours. For many, the benefits of four-day workweeks and working from home outweigh working at a traditional brick and mortar. Traditionally, society has promoted, normalized, and even praised long working hours, but many have had a change of heart. Families get to spend more time together, and people travel the world to see the beautiful things out there.
Are You Considering Implementing a Four-Day Workweek?
Of course, only some industries can implement a four-day workweek or even an opportunity to work from home. Some industries, such as commercial real estate, are even against it. But it is clear that the idea of having a four-day week is not far-fetched and is making its way globally. If you are considering partaking in this idea, here are a few things to consider:
- Define your main goal. Understanding your main goal for implementing a four-day workweek will help you decide whether it is for your company and whether it is effective.
- Consider how four-day workweeks may affect your employees and customers. You want to make sure all bases are covered. Deciding whether you will schedule your employees to all have four workdays or whether your entire company will be closed on the fifth day is significant.
- Consider how this may alter your policies and employees’ wages and hours. You want to make sure your new policies reflect your state policies. If you have to have longer days to make up for the loss of the fifth day, you should be aware of your state’s overtime laws. Some states require you to pay overtime after exceeding 8 to 12 work hours in one day. Ensure your HR team looks into the state laws in which your employees work.
- Start slow. Consider trying four-day weeks on a trial basis. Get your employees’ and managers’ feedback before you start the trial.
- Track your progress by recording any productivity changes. You can also conduct an employee questionnaire to see if they have experienced any changes in their personal and work life.
- Ask for help! As always, if you need another set of eyes to help you implement a four-day workweek policy, Guide to HR is here for you.