The idea of a four-day workweek has been popular for some time now, to the point where it is actively being tested in practical settings. Let’s discuss how successful this approach has been (spoiler alert: it’s been quite successful indeed).
First, let’s review what this idea of a four-day workweek looks like in practice.
A Four-Day Workweek Doesn’t Mean Four Longer Days or Less Pay
The concept of the four-day workweek is based on the expectation that the workers involved will be paid the same as they would have if they had worked a five-day week. It’s based on the 100-80-100 model posed by 4 Day Week Global (a non-for-profit community that supports a four-day workweek), that suggests that employees should get 100% of the pay for working 80% while still accomplishing 100% productivity.
A lofty goal, for certain…and one that it seems is perfectly attainable, based on recent events.
Assorted Pilot Projects Have Proved the Efficacy of the Four-Day Workweek
4 Day Week Global, as its name would suggest, is a global organization. As such, there have been pilot projects conducted not only in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe, but also in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. While we may have already spoiled the results, the level of success that participating companies have exhibited is impressive, to say the least.
For instance, in the UK’s pilot of the four-day workweek, which ranged across industries and involved 3,300 workers from 70 companies, a full 95% of surveyed companies reported consistent or even improved productivity. The breakdown of these responses is as follows:
- 46% reported maintained productivity
- 34% reported slight improvements to productivity
- 15% reported significant productivity improvements
Most telling, perhaps, is that 86% are considering making the switch a permanent one.
Why Does the Four-Day Workweek Produce as Much as the Five-Day Workweek?
Admittedly, it sounds counterintuitive to the point of craziness—how is it that less time spent at work results in equal, if not more, work being done?
There are actually a few ways that businesses that have switched to a four-day week have seen benefits. A reduction of “work theater,” or an employee trying to look busy instead of actually being busy, is one impact that has led to more efficiency. Staff burnout and turnover are also greatly reduced and their impacts on productivity are diminished as a result. Microsoft Japan actually saw productivity jump up 40% after it adopted the four-day workweek.
The cornerstone of this kind of strategy is to focus less on the time spent working, and more on the output that is achieved.
Similar Impacts Were Seen During the Remote Work Boom
It hasn’t been nearly long enough to warrant a reminder of why remote work suddenly became such a popular option for so many. However, similar trends were seen with the sudden adoption of remote operations—indicating that the old ways of working are no longer the best option available.
Now, while the adoption of remote work happened very quickly out of necessity, any widespread adoption of the four-day workweek is likely to take more time—it really comes down to the company culture of each organization and the willingness of its leadership to adopt whatever new thing is making waves. Therefore, how soon it will be before a widespread four-day work week is seen is anyone’s guess.
Regardless of When You Work, We’re Here to Make Sure You Can
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