The concept of a 9-5 work week has been around for over a century. However, discussions around alternative work schedules have resurged due to technological advancements and societal norms.
One of the most popular alternatives is the transition to a four-day work week. This change can bring benefits for both employees and employers, such as increased productivity, better work-life balance, and reduced stress levels.
With this in mind, it begs the question: is it time for countries to switch to a four-day work week?
A four-day work week is often adopted to improve work-life balance, reduce burnout, and increase productivity. It involves condensing the standard 40 hours into four days, resulting in a long workday with an extra day off. The specifics of the schedule may vary depending on the company and its particular needs.
In 2008, the Utah state government in the US began implementing a schedule of working four days a week (Monday through Thursday) with 10 hours of work per day. Since then, many companies from different countries have adopted a similar four-day work week.
4 day work week pros and cons
Improve employees’ mental health.
Work-life balance has always been an important indicator of mental health for workers. The good news is that the new work mode allows them more time to relax or even travel. The traditional two-day weekend may limit weekend trips to the local area. Still, the recent three-day weekend can enable UK citizens to explore further afield, such as Western Europe, Southern Europe, or North Africa.
Reduce unemployment among full-time employees.
A benefit of shortening the work week is to reduce unemployment.
The rationale behind the decision to shorten the work week in the United States during the 1930s was due to the alarmingly high unemployment rate of 25%. Intending to alleviate the suffering of the many people who were out of work, cutting the work week was a viable solution.
Simultaneously, they hoped that decreasing work hours would increase productivity by allowing workers adequate rest and recovery between shifts.
Reduce face-to-face interaction
Employees having an extra day off may reduce face-to-face interaction and collaboration opportunities. This could lead to a decrease in productivity and morale and a lack of knowledge sharing and idea generation.
For employees, there is the potential for feeling overwhelmed with their workload on shorter days. And it would lead to decreased productivity due to the need for a full work week. And employers may end up paying more over time, as they have to complete the same amount of work in fewer hours.
4 day work week companies
Perpetual Guardian - a New Zealand-based trust and estate planning firm.
Perpetual Guardian is New Zealand’s premier provider of estate planning services, offering Wills, Trusts, Enduring Powers of Attorney, Investment Advisory, and Philanthropic ventures to help clients grow and preserve their wealth and legacy for over 135 years.
Treehouse - an online technology education company based in the US
Treehouse is a virtual technology institution offering courses in web design, mobile development, and game development. These courses cater to individuals seeking to develop coding skills and pursue a career in technology. They range from introductory to advanced levels.
Buffer - a social media management platform
Buffer is a user-friendly social media management tool that is widely used by businesses, brands, agencies, and individuals to enhance their social media presence and increase engagement. It simplifies managing social media accounts and helps users achieve their goals.
Semco Style - a Brazilian manufacturing company
Semco Style is a Brazilian company renowned for its unconventional management style that emphasizes employee autonomy and decentralization. Ricardo Semler founded the company in the 1980s, and it became a leader in alternative management, known for its innovative approach to business practices. The company prioritizes fostering a work environment that values creativity, flexibility, and transparency, and this has earned recognition for its positive impact on employee satisfaction and business success.
Aerva - an Indian software firm
Aerva is a tech company specializing in digital signage & interactive experiences. Its cloud-based platform allows businesses to create, manage & monitor dynamic digital content across screens & devices. With a focus on simplicity & accessibility, Aerva’s platform enables users to design, publish & monitor content easily, making it an ideal solution for businesses seeking to enhance their digital presence.
Video conferencing tools recommended for a four-day work week
NUROUM C40 is an ideal choice for a four-day work week. It enables businesses to remain productive while taking advantage of fewer hours. With NUROUM C40, companies can stay connected with colleagues and clients remotely and host virtual meetings and conferences at any time and place.
NUROUM C40 features advanced ProperClean Technology and a 4-element microphone array, providing smooth, high-quality audio. It has a 360°, 16ft voice pickup capacity and noise/echo/reverb removal with deep learning and DSP.
It utilizes a SONY Starvis CMOS sensor for Full HD 2K images and HDR. Additionally, it has face-recognition technology and a ring LED indicator. It is easy to use, as it is plug-and-play powered by one USB cable, with no need for a driver.
More companies are adopting the 4-day work week, making it a growing trend. A shorter work week can significantly enhance productivity with the appropriate technology and resources.
However, transitioning to a four-day work week is a complex process with various arguments for and against it. And it depends on carefully considering all the factors involved, including the needs and goals of the economy, workers, and businesses. While some countries and companies have successfully implemented a four-day work week, further research and analysis are suggested before a widespread transition.