By Blair Koch
The four-day workweek is a hot topic that has drawn both praise and criticism in the business world. While some business owners swear that a shortened week increases productivity, others have claimed that the model “killed the work ethic” of their employees.
So what exactly are we talking about here?
Four-day workweeks can take a number of forms. For instance:
Instituting a 10-hour workday, four days a week
Reducing the standard 40-hour workweek to 32 hours (and keeping compensation equivalent to 40 hours per week)
Alternating every other week between a four-day and five-day workweek
It simply boils down to what makes the most sense for your business.
As I mentioned earlier, there are pros and cons that you need to consider prior to restructuring your employees’ workweek. Here are a few arguments in favor of the shortened week:
Some studies show an increase in productivity and quality of work
Improved work-life balance and reduced stress
A more energized staff
A attractive benefit that may help attract high quality employees and retain your current ones
The four-day workweek isn’t for everyone. Some of the downsides might include:
Reduced compensation for employees (depending on how they are paid and the employee type)
The potential for decreased productivity, particularly if you implement a 10-hour day
Negative customer impact if staff is not available when reasonably expected (there are certainly ways to ensure this doesn’t happen)
Potential child care impact for working parents
Whether you should implement a four-day work week depends on your business, your needs, your employees and your other stakeholders. I suggest going through the exercise of considering all the advantages and disadvantages of a four-day work week within your organization and be sure to include any financial impacts. If there are enough positives and it fits or helps your company culture, then maybe give it a try on a trial basis and take the time to measure the results including any changes in productivity, quality, employee quality of life, stress, etc. – or any other key measurements for your organization.
Share your thoughts on the four-day workweek. How does it work for you? Why do you think it is an advantage or disadvantage? How do you measure the impacts? I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon.