What if we told you what previously took 40 hours to complete can now be completed in 32? Would you believe it..and better yet, would you be willing to try it? That’s exactly what’s being proposed with the four day workweek. This new concept is challenging the paradigms of employers and employees alike, putting the focus towards utilizing energy wisely rather than measuring employee success by hours worked.
The American employee has long brought the value of hard work to the table. As a culture, we pride ourselves on showing up early and staying late. The ideal of embodying a strong work ethic will always have its place in the American workforce, but what if there was a way to trim the fat from the workweek? Haven’t we all been in meetings that we knew weren’t necessary or spent time cross communicating across multiple channels and platforms instead of streamlining the process? Imagine capturing that lost time Monday through Thursday, using it towards productive and essential work, all the while cutting down total hours worked and improving work/life balance.
Organizations have been researching and conducting trials on the four day workweek concept across the globe, including the UK, Australia,and Canada, just to name a few. Many have found that the new style of work brought about sustained productivity with fewer hours worked. One company found the median number of hours worked dropped by 23% from a median of 45 to 34.5 hours, without affecting the quality or quantity of work measured by OKRs. Another found that employee happiness went from 12% to 51%. With burnout and employee retention at the forefront of HR conversations since 2020 – maybe this is one solution. Companies in the trials also found that employee work/life balance satisfaction more than doubled after the implementation of the reduced workweek, coupled with an overall decrease in stress. Interestingly enough, another company reported that prior to the reduced schedule, only 50% of employees felt they could keep up with their work, compared to 79% following the implementation. This shift is seemingly due to increased focus and adapted workflows focused on essential work.
This new approach to work challenges the archetype that employees who put in more time add more value. It forces employers to view employees from a value/productivity output perspective rather than a time input/wage perspective – at the end of the day, results produced really do matter more than time invested.
With all its benefits, the four day workweek still presents challenges and shouldn’t be implemented on a whim. It requires a new approach to work that takes focus, prioritization and perhaps most importantly deprioritization. These aren’t changes that are made easily. Performance metrics and communication plans must be considered, as well as a detailed plan to continue meeting the needs of clients and customers on a reduced schedule/workforce. Interested in the benefits of this schedule and want to talk through this option for your company, reach out to Clarity HR today to schedule a meeting.
Written by: Heidi Piersall
September 30, 2022
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