Some companies are offering a 4 day work week to lure workers who are looking for better work-life balance into their organizations and bolster recruitment in a tight labor market.
The success of an organization irrespective of any field depends on the strength of the employees.
Employees are the backbone of the organization who hugely contributes physically as well as mentally to run an organization successfully.
To motivate them and encourage them to work more efficiently many organizations every day bring new strategies into their organizations.
Employers take at most care of the employees by encouraging health and safety, improved workplace conditions, and also giving many remunerations.
One important strategy which is recently hitting the market is 4 day work week. It has created a buzz in the market where few of the employees take it as a positive strategy and it also has some negative feedback too.15% of organizations offer four-day workweeks of 32 hours or less to at least some employees, up from 13% in 2017, according to an April survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. Click To Tweet
Read this post to know the pros and cons of the four day work week.
What is Four Day Work Week:
The four-day work week is a method where the five days working schedule is compressed into four days module by adding an extra two hours of compensation in every working day.
It just means instead of working 8-9 hours every day the employee has to work 10-11 hours a day i.e to work 4 days a week 10 hours per day.
Overall, it also covers the lunch breaks and extra tea breaks in the working hour structure.
By this, the employee gets a three day weekend, but still, the working hours of one extra day are also covered by working extra hours.
This 10 hours 4 day work week strategy is attracting most of the employers as well as employees as it satisfies the business perspective as well as gives a good work-life balance too.
Therefore from both sides, there are advantages as well as disadvantages of a Compressed workweek.
How Would You Like a four-day Workweek?
When an interviewer asks you “How would you like a four-day workweek?” question, you will feel excited thinking of the positives that come with it and neglect the negatives.
This is a kind of tricky question and an offer at the same time which employers use to attract the best employee to join their company.
As per the research by FlexJobs, a wide range of organizations, from finance to recruitment, are opening up to the idea of a shorter workweek.
Based on” analysis of more than 50,000 U.S. companies’ job postings“, FlexJobs found that over the past year the following 10 industries were the most likely to hire for flexible positions, including four-day weeks:
Making a 4-day Work Week:
4 day work week is nothing new, there are many companies in the western countries who have introduced this system in their work culture and are happy by seeing their increase in productivity. This is surely a tried and tested method.
Now if you want to apply this method in your system then follow these 3 steps,
- Focus on recruiting
- Synthesize meetings
- Avoid all type of distractions
Pros and Cons of Day Work Week:
4 Day Work Week Benefits or Pros:
1. It motivates employees to work harder:
The very feeling of getting three days as a weekend is motivating stuff for all employees.
Even though the employee has to strain working 10-11 hours in a week, having a long weekend will push them to work harder for the remaining 4 days.
Spending more than 40 hours in a week is not an easy task and it completely drains you.
But, still employees personally get the satisfaction of working hard and this may also help them in their overall career as some companies prefer people who do overtime work.
2. It does not disturb the flow of work:
Because employees spend long continuous hours of work, they do not miss the flow of work or get distracted to leave home soon.
They get enough time to complete the task on the same day rather than passing it off to the next day.
Fewer work hours make the employees miss the flow of work and they get distracted and it takes on an average of around 23 minutes to get back to the flow.
Hence, having full packed 10-11 hours of work motivates the employee to finish the task the same day with full concentration.
3. It helps employees to take a break from commuting to the workplace:
In most of the metro cities, traveling to the workplace every single day requires lots of patience because of the traffic.
And it makes the employees waste a lot of time and also makes them lose energy easily.
This added two-hour work strategy helps the employee adjust the rush hour by staying back in office as well makes them free from commutation three days in a week.
It helps them stay out of the peak hours of travel as well as makes them free by relaxing the rest of the days.
4. It helps the employee to choose their own Four day work week strategy:
According to a four day work week strategy, the employee does not have to choose a definite pattern of working from Monday to Thursday.
Every employee can choose their own four days of the work week. For example, some people might feel like working on weekends and taking off on weekdays.
Few of them feel to work from Tuesday to Friday as they feel dull coming to the office on Mondays. So, this four day work week pattern is very flexible and also benefiting the organization equally.
5. It personally helps the employees to do their activities:
The lifestyle of employees varies from person to person. Working for an organization does not mean they do not have any other personal choices of work.
Few employees might be philanthropists, small-time entrepreneurs, activists or might do any hobbies like gardening, craftwork or social activities, etc on the weekends.
For such kind of employees, having a 4 day work week strategy is very helpful to do their activities.
6. It helps the employees to save fuel cost as well as environmental friendly:
Nowadays, due to the increased traffic and polluting vehicles all around the country, the environment has become very polluted and dusty.
Most of the employees tend to bring their vehicles for travel conveyance or few of them travel from various modes and contribute to various kinds of pollution like air pollution, noise pollution and also fuel wastage.
Every year there is a large amount of money spent on fuel to commute to workplaces. It occupies a minimum of one-fourth of the income as a fuel cost.
So, taking a three-day weekend break does contribute in a way to save pollution as well as reduce fuel wastage and fuel cost-cutting.
4 Day Work Week Cons:
1. Increased fatigue and less productivity sometimes:
Employees tend to get easily tired as the new 4 day work week strategy might be a little difficult to adopt.
It naturally takes more time to get accustomed to sitting after eight hours of work.
Most of the employees get tired and tend to just waste time to reach the schedule instead of working the compensating hours.
This will eventually decrease productivity as well as make them feel they work too hard which is not the truth.
2. It might cause personal disturbances like finding child care, late-night dinners, etc:
Some of the employees might have trouble finding daycare centers for their kids as they reach home late in the evenings.
Especially for parents of younger children feel difficult to meet their children’s needs and also they are pushed to feed the kids late in the evenings.
Not only for kids, but working parents also skip their dinners as they rush late to home and feel completely drained to cook in late nights.
This is one main drawback of working extra compensation hours as it causes a disturbance in their personal life.
3. The new working pattern might completely drain internally:
Getting adapted to a new working hour pattern needs more time physically as well as mentally.
Generally, the human body gets easily set to a fixed pattern of working hours. And it is difficult to change as internally it causes lots of disturbances like fatigue, stress, mentally tiring after eight hours, etc.
Hence, changing to a new four day work week might be challenging as well it disturbs the cycle for some time at least.
4. Stress might reduce the efficiency of work:
It is very natural for an employee to get stressed as he/she might be pushed to finish the task within four days a week and also when in stress, employees tend to keep the task incomplete or it also might reduce the accuracy in the outcome.
Overall, four day work week will not be a pleasure giving strategy to every employee in the organization.
5. Might also cause an overlap in working shifts:
Due to the 10 hour working shift, there might be an overlap in shifts in 24/7 working operations.
For example, to cover 24 hour period, an employee has to cover a three 10 hour shift which means the shift is overlapped.
Hence, for most of the 24/7 work operations business, four day work week does not suit as it disturbs the entire work schedule.
6. It might also disturb personal activities in the four day work week:
All employees might have some personal duties to complete after office hours.
In most of the four day work week schedule, there are chances employees reach home very late and they tend to get frustrated as their everyday routine gets postponed to the weekend.
Three day weekend would be stressful as employees might have a long pending list and furthermost of the compensation work hour would go wasted in waiting for the departure from office.
7. Employees tend to take more breaks:
Due to the new work hour pattern, an employee will have a preconceived mindset of working long hours.
This also might lead to taking frequent breaks at work than usual. Frequent breaks might miss the flow of work, and causes the delay in work and considerably reduce productivity.
Hence, four day work week have also possibilities of slowing down the entire process of the organization.
Would a Four-Day Workweek Be More Productive?
In the 18th century, the average working hours for a week was around 100 hours. Then, later on, a standard 40 hours average working hours came into existence. This continued till now, but since the last few years the work culture has changed and a new method has been introduced -“4 day work week”.
Applying this is a win-win solution for both the employee and the employer. This type of process focuses mainly on the quality of work rather than the amount of time at work. The best part is that the employers have also used this strategy and it has worked best for them. Also, the employees have become more active, happy and productive.
Let us briefly look at the main pros and cons of 4 day work week
Pros of 4 day work week:
- Improved Efficiency
- More Work-Life Balance
- More Loyal Employees
Cons of 4 day work week:
- Increased Out-of-Work, Online Activity
- Customer Dissatisfaction
- Compensation Complications
- Employers too Want Fewer Hours
Basically, It all depends on the Workplace:
Though there are many benefits of applying 4 day work week for both employers and employees, we cannot deny the fact that it is not suitable for every organization. There are many companies which work round the clock and also employees who work on an hourly basis, in such cases 4 day work week is not at all possible.
This depends upon the company policies if the organizations are willing to provide flexibility to their employees then making use of the 4 days work week policy is fine and well. But if it is not possible then, employers need to bring on another type of method to attract the employees.
Pay for a Four-Day Workweek:
In case of a 4 day work week pay, if the employee is salaried exempt then he is not entitled to get overtime pay for the extra work done. In such a case, there is no problem with the payment as they will be getting a fixed salary, no matter how many hours they work.
On the other hand, if the employees are not salaried exempt then they are fully eligible for getting pay for their extra work hours. Here the payment of employees working four day work week are similar to the employees who are working for 5 day work week.
Every organization in the world are very particular in finding new strategies for their employees.
End of the day, the employee’s welfare has to be considered as a priority to run an organization successfully. Four day work week pattern has to considered thoroughly before implementing it.
There are two sides of employees who feel four day work week not very appropriate for productivity, at the same time there are employees who feel it helps them relax an extra day at the weekend which helps them have a fresh start.
Henceforth, four day work week pattern has to practice for some time to know whether it suits the organization.
4 Day Work Week Country:
Many countries try to regulate the workweek by specifying the minimum annual holidays, daily rest periods, and the maximum number of working hours per week.
Though 4 day work week not made any law across the world, some of the companies in these countries have been experimenting with a four day work week
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
- The Gambia
France 4 day work week:
In February 2000, under Prime Minister Lionel Jospin’s Plural Left government, France adopted a 35-hour working week period as the legal standard limit after which any further working period will consider overtime.
Sweden 4 day work week:
When Sweden experimented with six-hour workdays where workers got a chance to earn full pay by working for fewer hours the results came out as surprising to everyone. Read on to understand what happened
Canada 4 day work week:
A survey done by Angus Reid Institute in Canada, 7-in-10 (68%) of Canadians preferred to work for four 10-hour shifts per week instead of five 8-hour shifts per week
4 Day Work Week Companies:
- Reusser Design, A 9-person Web app development company in Indiana that is open from 6:30 am to 5 pm Monday to Thursday.
- Project management and Team Communication Software company Basecamp, which has around 47 employees, giving a 4-day workweek from May through August for staffers who have been there at least a year.
- When it comes to large employers, a global audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG, offers a compressed workweek option to its U.S. employees.
- Shake Shack – Burgers and Shakes casual restaurant chain based in New York City recently announced it would experiment with the idea of a four-day workweek at some of its restaurants on the West Coast. Though the tests vary by restaurant, the employees work an average of 40 hours in four days with the same pay and benefits.
- Employees at software company Wildbit based in Philadelphia have been working 32-hour, four-day workweeks for more than two years.
- “Free Fridays” was part of the deal when the founders of Cockroach Labs in New York City launched their computer software company in 2015.
- One Japanese clothing retailer, Uniqlo, is experimenting with 4 days work week with 10,000 of its full-time employees.
- Killer Visual Strategies decided to squeeze the workweek into four 10-hour days, with her 30 employees taking off either Friday or Monday.
- PDQ.com, a Salt Lake City-based software development company that switched to a four-day, 36-hour workweek two years ago.
- Ad-Juster, a San Diego-based advertising and data analytics research firm, switched to a four-day week in 2012, but the practice ended when he sold the company in 2016.
The overall aim of new strategies in a working pattern is to improve the employee benefits and retain them in the organization. Hope this post explains thoroughly about the pros and cons of the four day work week strategy.