We're in a new era, one that's oriented towards flexibility and new ways of working.
Productivity concerns are one of the greatest challenges as executives deal with the new reality of hybrid work, and increased burnout rates. Considering the advantages and disadvantages, will a 4-Day Working Week solve the issue? Or will productivity go down?
The world of work looks different after the pandemic and the future of work requires a new employer-employee contract. We are moving towards a more flexible working future. Recruiting talent requires companies to put people first, considering issues like burnout and wellbeing. As a result, providing employees with the flexibility they need can no longer just be about offering remote work. The company of the future will need to implement and incorporate new ways of working. A shorter workweek could be the answer to employee wellbeing and hiring and retaining new talent. But how will a 4-day working week affect productivity?
The Case for 4-Day Workweeks and Productivity
The company of the future
During the pandemic, companies experienced solid productivity increases. After the pandemic, many companies plan to transition to a hybrid virtual model that combines remote work with office hours. There are many possibilities in alternative work schedules, like part-time, flextime, compressed workweeks, and telecommuting.
According to a McKinsey analysis, approximately 20 per cent of the workforce could work remotely three to five days a week as effectively as they could in an office. Those numbers would translate into three to four times more people working from home than before the pandemic, with a significant impact for urban economies, transportation, and consumer spending, among others.
What is a four-day workweek?
Four-day workweeks are exactly what they sound like. Employees work four days a week and paid for five. We should note, however, that the four-day work week can take different forms, such as four days of work with 80 per cent pay, or even compressed 10-hour working days to compensate for the extra day. For example, Belgian employees won the right to work four days instead of five without losing their pay by condensing their working hours into fewer days .
Pros and cons of a shorter workweek
With a renewed focus on work-life balance that positively impacts employee productivity and happiness, the idea of a shorter workweek is gaining traction. People who work a four-day week generally report that they’re healthier, happier, and less crunched for time; their employers report that they’re more efficient and more focused.
A McKinsey report reveals that nearly half of employees surveyed say they’re feeling some symptoms of being burned out at work. And shorter workweeks can benefit more than just the employee. Businesses can benefit from reduced stress, increased efficiency, and more engaged employees. And we now have proof from companies that tried the short week model that a four-day work week can be just as productive as a five-day one.
In favour of the four-day week, advocates suggest that worker satisfaction increases when it is implemented, as does productivity. Working four days, relaxing three. Most employees would probably love the idea and 83% of all American workers would prefer a four-day workweek according to a 2021 GoodHire survey. Millennials are most in favour (90%), while Gen Z is least interested (76%).
But does that mean that less work will get done?