Talk of “work/life balance” and of a four-day work week has been around for decades, yet most businesses continue to operate on a five, or even five-and-a-half, day model. Typically, those that have shifted to a four-day week maintain a forty-hour week with employees working ten hours a day. While the additional day off might contribute to employee satisfaction, the longer days can negatively affect innovative thinking, quality, and productivity in the workplace. In reality the work week of many employees from the front lines to the C-suite is even longer than forty hours. Smart phones and other “anywhere, anytime” technologies keep them connected to work, and working, at all hours of the day and night, seven days a week.
Recently, Microsoft announced an experiment they conducted in Japan (https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/04/tech/microsoft-japan-workweek-productivity/index.html). In August 2019 they closed their offices every Friday; more than 90% of their 2,280 employees were affected. While work time was reduced by 20%, productivity soared 40%! Other than suggesting that meetings be limited to thirty minutes (or be replaced by the use of messaging apps), Microsoft did not report any significant efforts to focus on increased productivity. Yet the results speak for themselves. Microsoft’s was only one in many experiments focused on shortening the number of hours that today’s workers spend at work; consistently these studies have found business benefits to a shorter work week.
What is a 4-day work week?
While the tendency is to take this label literally, our recommendation is that you do not do so; it makes it too easy to dismiss the idea without giving it the consideration that it deserves. For some, it may mean cutting back from five and a half, or even six, days of work per week to five. For others, it may mean reducing the work week to four or even three days per week. For some business owners it may be a personal goal; others may want to bring their entire business along with them on this journey. There are businesses that are, by definition, 24/7, or that must at a minimum be available to their clients throughout the traditional 40-hour work week. For these businesses, it is a shift in the schedule for employees but not for the organization itself.
The bottom line is, to what degree is there a misalignment between the time spent at work and the time invested in other areas of your life? What are those important things—time with family, travel, leisure activities, etc.—that are sacrificed for the sake of your job? In order to create the alignment that you want for yourself and/or for your employees, what adjustment needs to be made in the hours being worked? That is your definition of a 4-day work week.
Do-Be 4-Day Work Week Services
If you are committed to creating your version of a 4-day work week, the Do-Be Associates are committed to helping you make it come true. From offering DIY (Do It Yourself) guidance to being there with you every step of the way, we understand the importance of creating greater balance in life and we know the journey necessary to achieve and sustain it.
To find out more, write IWant@a4-DayWorkWeek.com.