The Benefits of a Four-Day Workweek

Calendar with four red push pins marking four day workweek
February 28th, 2023 0 Comments

Having a four-day workweek can benefit businesses in more ways than one. When it comes to managing a business, various factors come into play- from keeping up with labor laws and taxes to maintaining employee morale. One of the critical considerations is finding innovative ways to maximize productivity while still caring for your employees’ needs.

A four-day workweek may be your answer.

The pandemic helped introduce the concept of a flexible working schedule, but on its face, a four-day workweek still runs counter to the idea of maximum employee productivity. Doesn’t fewer working hours mean sacrificing potential profits? However, if done correctly, companies can reap numerous benefits from offering their employees a shorter workweek – chief among them being increased job satisfaction among staff members leading to better team results. In this post, we’ll discuss the four-day workweek- the division of opinion on its implementation and its advantages.

Mixed Feelings. Mixed Results

While enthusiasm for the four-day week is growing, there is still much skepticism and rebuttal. For a variety of reasons, only some agree on a reduced workweek. For example, some employees appreciate the social elements of their occupations and find their work so interesting that they do not want a shortened workweek. These employees have also discovered that working four days puts them under constant pre-vacation pressure to complete more work in less time.

Others have argued that a four-day workweek will retard innovation and professional development. Malcolm Gladwell’s widely accepted 10,000 hours rule for achieving subject mastery means a professional will take seven years to achieve mastery if they work 30 hours a week in a field. At 40 hours a week, employees will gain great skills in five years. Accordingly, shortening the workweek will lengthen an employee’s time to become a master in their field.

There is also the issue of industry. White-collar jobs lend themselves better to a shortened schedule than occupations that rely on service labor. As a result, transitioning to a four-day workweek may exacerbate disparities between white-collar employees and manual laborers, who are typically paid based on their working time.

The inconsistency of the results from organizations that have tried the four-day workweek adds to the mistrust. Wildbit, a small software firm formed in Philadelphia in 2000, tried a four-day workweek in 2017 and made it permanent due to the significant benefits. However, Treehouse, an online coding school that was an early proponent of the four-day work week in 2013, has since reverted to the 40-hour work week in 2016. According to the CEO, Ryan Carson, the four-day workweek negatively affected his work ethic, which was detrimental to the company and its mission.

The Bright Side of the Four-Day Workweek

 Despite several arguments against it, research shows that a four-day workweek benefits the employee, the employer, the environment, and the nation.

1. Flexible Schedule and Work-life Balance

Studies show that working fewer hours boosts worker happiness, leaving employees feeling more invigorated and giving them more spare time to explore their hobbies outside of work.

Parents with children report less stress and more time to spend with their families, resulting in a more balanced life. Caregivers of aging parents can also assist their loved ones. “The sheer number of work hours people have is one of the primary determinants in their level of work-family satisfaction,” Melissa Milkie, a sociologist at the University of Toronto who studies time use, told The Atlantic. “It’s enormous… It would rebalance things for working families.”

2. Increased Productivity

Another advantage of a four-day workweek is increased productivity. According to a study on workplace productivity, the average working person is productive for slightly more than four hours during an eight-hour workday.

Compared to a typical five-day workweek, the four-day week has sustained (and in some cases boosted) productivity levels. For example, Microsoft Japan reported a 40% improvement in productivity after giving its staff Fridays off during their trial of the four-day workweek. Also, when Andrew Barnes experimented with a four-day workweek at Perpetual Guardian, he discovered a 20% increase in employee productivity. Simply put, employees can focus more at work when they have adequate time to spend on their matters. Increased personal time is a win-win for both employers and employees.

3. Reduced Business Expenses

Businesses that adopt a four-day workweek can save money. Office expenses, commuting benefits, employee perks, and competitive pay can all add up.

In one case, a four-day week reduced variable overhead expenses by 20%. Furthermore, a company can save thousands of dollars on employee parking or public transportation costs and 20% on daily workplace benefits. Again, one significant way firms save money due to the four-day workweek is through increased employee engagement, which minimizes costly turnover. Employees who are wholly engaged are less likely to consider leaving the company. Turnover can be expensive. Losing an employee can cost a company up to double its compensation.

4. Reduced Carbon Footprint

Reducing carbon footprint is a significant benefit of the four-day workweek at a time when climate change and emissions are top of mind. According to a 2021 4-Day Week Campaign analysis, a truncated work schedule could reduce the UK’s carbon footprint by 21.3%. According to another study, four-day workweeks may help us minimize our carbon footprint, ecological footprint, and carbon dioxide emissions.

5. Business Growth

The Wanderlust Group, an outdoor technology firm based in the United States, has achieved considerable growth and financial success since transitioning to a four-day workweek, including 99% year-over-year (YoY) Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR). The number of nights booked through their marketplace also climbed by 120%. All of these increases are directly related to greater employee productivity and engagement. The economy grows stronger when firms consistently record success.

We are Here to Help You!

A shorter workweek has vast potential to benefit both employers and employees. Studies have shown that less time in the office increases productivity and often results in greater employee satisfaction. Additionally, employees can use their days off to pursue educational or leisure activities which benefits company morale. Moreover, regarding office amenities such as purified water dispensers, clean and healthy drinking water should always be available regardless of the organization’s hours. At Waterways, we offer many options for office water filtration – contact us today for more information on selecting the ideal unit for your needs!

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