Should Companies Consider a Four-Day Week?

The work week is a controversial subject. Many employers still judge performance based on the number of hours their employees work, confusing presence with efficiency. On the other hand, some are ready to break away from traditional models, reducing time at the office and giving their employees long weekends. A new trend is emerging: the four-day week. How could this strategy be advantageous for a company?

More Productive Employees

Unlike what we may think, a four-day week does not limit a company’s productivity or that of its employees. Concentrating time at work in fewer days requires employees to rethink how they manage their time and approach their work. Since they have to accomplish the same tasks in less time, they learn to focus on what is important, improving their concentration skills. With a four-day work week, employees will spend less time on activities that take up time and affect their concentration like checking e-mails, surfing the web or texting. This means that they are more invested in the company’s goals. The proof in numbers: Microsoft switched a four-day work week while still paying employees for five days at its Japanese subsidiary in August 2019. Employees have since been 40% more productive. Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand group, noted a 20% increase in productivity.

Improved Employee Motivation

The four-day work week has been tested in several countries, including France, the United States, Sweden and New Zealand. It provides a better balance between home and work life. With this schedule, employees have an extra day off that they can spend taking care of personal business or enjoying themselves. In addition to more flexibility for scheduling their activities, they also spend less time on public transportation or in traffic. They can also use this extra day to enrol in training programmes that would otherwise not have been possible. They spend more time with friends and family and become better rested and more well-rounded individuals, which reduces anxiety and improves performance at work. According to the CEO of Perpetual Guardian, Andrew Barnes, 78% of his employees say their quality of work has noticeably improved due to a better balance between home life and work. Stress is down 7% with the four-day week, which is great news, since anxiety-based illnesses cost 300 billion dollars per year the world over.

A More Attractive Employer Brand

The four-day week is not yet standard professional practice. If a company can do so, however, this strategy has excellent benefits for retention and recruitment. Switching to a four-day week shows your employees that you care about their professional and personal well-being. They will also see this change as proof that you trust their ability to adapt to a new schedule and manage their time at work. And as we all know, giving employees more responsibility makes them feel appreciated, which they in turn respond to with greater investment in their work. As for recruitment, a four-day week gives your company an edge over the competition. This benefit will motivate talents to apply and see themselves with the company on the long term. An important advantage considering how competitive the recruitment market has become.