Over the last couple of years there’s been talk as a handful of companies have moved to a four-day workweek. Typically, these have been early adopters, often found in industries known for a comfort level of pushing the envelope. But many business owners are reluctant to consider the reduction in hours worked without a corresponding reduction in pay. Could employees really create the same level of output in fewer hours and would a reduction in working hours equate to less revenue?
The current outlook seems to be evolving as more businesses consider the ramifications of implementing a 32-hour workweek. An article published in the LinkedIn Talent Blog, authored by Dan Schawbel, found many workers would prefer a four-day workweek to the traditional five days. Those workers believe it is possible to complete their tasks within a shorter timeframe. Additionally, a shorter week is increasingly viewed as a direct contributor to higher employee satisfaction and could be a tool for better employee retention.
One thing that could certainly slow adoption is that a four-day workweek is outside of the norm. Many business owners still subscribe to the belief that a full 40-hours is necessary to be productive. Yet the data shows otherwise. A pilot conducted by non-profit, 4 Day Week Global, looked at three companies employing 903 people in total. The trial, the largest of its kind to date, found a four-day workweek highly successful. Organizations participating in the pilot program found their revenue increased almost 38% compared to the same period in 2021. These companies also experienced a reduction in absenteeism, increased hiring, and fewer resignations. The employees reported feeling less stress and burnout and improved physical activity and mental health. They also had a higher level of satisfaction with their life and outside relationships.
With a growing number of workers suffering from stress and burnout and with others not in the best of physical or mental health, a switch to a four-day workweek could prove beneficial. Schawbel concluded that businesses who continue to struggle with shortages of talent could soon find themselves with more candidates looking for a position if offered a four-day workweek.
Locally, this issue is coming even closer to home with Independence, Missouri schools moving to a four-day school week. The driving force behind this change is the ability to retain and attract staff, according to Dr. Dale Herl, superintendent of the district. Independence will join the 140 other school districts in Missouri and nearly 70% of school districts in Colorado who have also made the switch, according to Dr. Herl.
With many workers already emphasizing the importance of a flexible work environment, a change like this might further push businesses toward a similar choice. Do you see a four-day workweek in your company’s future?