Is a four-day workweek really worth it?
With remote work proving so successful during the pandemic, the four-day working week is likely to become a reality sooner than ever before. In spite of the fact that employees might dream of a three-day weekend, it’s important to examine if businesses would soar or if productivity would plummet.
As technology continuously advances, working longer hours does not automatically translate into greater productivity, therefore a five-day workweek is no longer necessary as technology has made it faster to work. Nevertheless, businesses should consider the key pros and cons of a four-day week in order to make the best decision for their company.
Advantages of a four-day working week
According to several global studies, shorter working weeks are associated with increased productivity. A New Zealand firm trialled a four day week and discovered that 78% of employees were better able to balance their work and home life balance, thus increasing productivity. There is no doubt that happier employees that are more fulfilled in their work-life balance will perform better.
A four-day week allows for a reduction in costs for both businesses and employees. By closing the office for an extra day a week, companies would save considerably on running costs, while employees could save on commuting costs and other expenses.
Employee wellbeing and engagement
A three-day weekend is likely to significantly improve the work/life balance of employees. Having more free time allows them to indulge in their hobbies and passions, thus increasing their overall happiness. Consequently, they are likely to be more loyal to the company and to be more productive.
Recruitment and retention
There is no doubt that that a flexible work pattern is likely to attract and retain talent, as well as increasing the diversity profile of a business. For example, those with caring responsibilities are likely to find such flexibility attractive.
Disadvantages of a four-day working week
Risk of burnout
A four-day week can be implemented by allowing employees to work ten-hour days four times a week to maintain a typical 40-hour week. However, longer hours can increase pressure on employees, lead to tiredness and negatively impact wellbeing, thus reducing overall productivity.
If a customer or client is unable to seek support from a company due to it being closed, customer satisfaction levels are likely to decrease. As a result of this, the client or customer may look for alternative businesses.
Businesses may have difficulty accurately assessing employee productivity levels – some employees may be working harder than others, therefore businesses must find a strategy to accurately measure work.
While future of work is still unknown, one thing is certain: it is constantly changing. Due to this, it is important for organisations to focus on attracting and retaining top talent, which is a huge challenge in a post-Covid world. In order to maintain productivity, morale, and engagement, organizations must prioritise flexibility, staff support, and wellbeing days.