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The Four-Day Workweek ‒ A Step Towards The Future Of Work

Written by: Gayle Terzis, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

A couple of years ago, the pandemic shook our lives and changed all our daily habits; from how we communicate with others to how we conduct our business. It introduced new work methods, some of which are becoming vital for our wellbeing, such as the remote and hybrid work models.


Despite life slowly getting back to normal these past few months, and employees going back to work again, some things, such as our business structures, will never be the same again.

A new concept, better known as the four-day work week, which has been around for quite some time, has been recently reintroduced as the next logical move in the business world.


So what is the four-day workweek and why should you care?


The Four Day Workweek - A Quick Overview:


The Four Day Workweek advocates for working four days instead of five: “Most companies reduce the workweek to 32 hours over four days, rather than maintaining 40 hours within four days. The nonprofit calls this a 100-80-100 model: Workers receive 100% of their pay for 80% of the time and maintain 100% productivity.”


This allows employees to enjoy a three-day weekend.


The idea was first introduced around 80 years ago and adopted by the likes of Henry Ford who found that reducing his employees' working hours increased their productivity.


But up until recently, the world has been slow to catch on.


In recent years, many initiatives such as the 4 Day Week Global founded by Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart, have been actively advocating the four-day workweek as the next logical step in business.


They have been cooperating with various companies around the world to introduce and implement the concept through customized pilot programs.


So far, there are two approaches for the four-day workweek.


One of them advocates for reducing the working days from 5 to 4 and reducing the working hours from 40 to around 32 hours per week to fit into the new model.


While the other is based on compressing 40 hours of work into 4 days and having employees work for a longer time each day, but fewer days.


In the UK, a pilot program will be launched in June to test the latter option: “Under the reform, employees will be allowed to work up to 9.5 hours a day the equivalent of 9 am to 6.30 pm meaning they will be able to squash a week of work into four longer days.”


Many countries are adopting similar programs such as the US and Canada.


Other countries are going for the first option; reduced working days and reduced working hours such as Germany: “Germany is home to one of the shortest average working weeks in Europe. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the average working week is 34.2 hours. Yet, trade unions are calling for further reduced working hours.”


The Pros and Cons of a Four Day Workweek and what does it mean to you?


Many shifts allow the four-day work week to be successful such as technological advancements that help employees automate or eliminate certain tasks.


There are many pros to the four-day work week for employees and companies alike, that will directly affect the quality of your life, should the company you work for, adopt this model, such as:

  • Increased productivity: The longer employees work, the less productive they will be, and the more they will be prone to stress and sometimes burnout. Reducing the working hours and days can have a tremendous benefit on their mental health, which will, in turn, reflect on their productivity and their companies’ profits.

  • Better work/life balance: A reduced workweek will allow employees to pursue and enjoy activities outside of work such as spending more time with family and friends. This will result in happier and better motivated employees.

  • Reducing the Gender Gap: A four-day workweek makes it easier to juggle work and family, which opens up more opportunities for women and reduces the gender gap.

  • Talent retention and lower employee turnover: This is a huge benefit for companies that will save them time, money, and resources.

  • Environmental benefits: There are many environmental benefits to a four-day workweek such as less commute to and from work, which, in turn, lowers the carbon impact our daily commutes have on the planet.

Some cons, on the other hand, include a decrease in customer satisfaction for the industries that fully rely on services, as well as a difficulty of implementation in fields where lots of support and technology are needed to make the four-day work week a reality.

But automating some of the customer services to chatbots and having the right support are some of the solutions that can be adopted to make the four-day work week a success.


Is the Four Day Workweek inevitable?


No one can answer that for sure, but what is certain is that there is a global shift towards creating better lives for ourselves.


This includes reducing our working hours and increasing the time we spend with our loved ones and pursuing activities we enjoy.


And the four-hour work week is so far, one of the best solutions that will allow us to do just that!


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Gayle Terzis, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Gayle Terzis is an Executive & Career Coach and the Founder of Boost Up.

With a background in banking, Gayle spent over ten years in the corporate world working on diverse missions, including the development of the first program dedicated to the financial empowerment of women in the Middle East. However, she started feeling that her job was lacking meaning and purpose, she was automatically less happy at work. She found coaching to be her calling. She quit her job and got certified by the ICF Executive & Leadership Coaching program.

Today, Gayle helps ambitious career-focused people connect with their better selves in order to reach their full potential and achieve meaningful goals faster; while having a balanced, healthy, happy and productive life.

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