For long, a 5-day workweek has been the standard in several parts of the globe. It is considered to provide an optimal mix of productivity and work-life balance. However, a new trend has been emerging in recent years, where some organizations have started experimenting with a 4-day workweek.
Some human resource experts believe that a 4-day workweek can promote greater satisfaction among employees, without compromising on productivity. A 4-day workweek is also said to boost employee satisfaction, innovation, creative thinking, motivation, loyalty towards company and commitment to work.
But are these benefits for real? Are 4-days workweeks better than the conventional 5-day workweek? To answer such questions, here are some important things to understand.
Improved productivity – A research conducted by a leading university revealed that employees working less hours are more productive. It essentially means that work meant for 5 days can be completed in 4 days, without working additional hours each day. So, as long as the right candidates are hired, organizations should not have any concerns about productivity when switching to a 4-day work week.
Reduced stress – Research studies reveal that a 4-day workweek helps to reduce stress. When employees do not feel overburdened and have more time for their personal pursuits and family, they will be in a better position to take on the challenges of their job. Teamwork will also improve, as employees’ social interactions will increase in a stress-free environment.
Better support for family structure – Globally, the family system is getting degraded due to stressful, long work hours. Quite a few families have both mother and father in jobs. This has an adverse effect on family relations, especially among children. With a 4-day workweek, parents can spend more time with family members. This will help in strengthening the societal structure.
Healthier society – There are numerous studies that have linked stress to various lifestyle diseases. With a 4-day workweek, employees can have a better chance of staying healthy. There will be less of sick leaves. Money spent on healthcare will also reduce, which will benefit both employees and organizations.
Improved motivation – With a 4-day workweek, employees will feel more motivated to work and take on new challenges. Their creativity and problem-solving skills will witness a significant improvement. They can learn new skills quickly and adapt to the changing environment. All of these will eventually benefit the organization.
Why 4-day workweek is not a good idea?
While a 4-day workweek has many benefits, it also has some disadvantages. For example, some employees may become lazy. Their productivity will remain the same, irrespective of 4-day or 5-day workweek. A 4-day workweek may also be not suitable for startups working with a limited budget. Startups need a lot of effort to succeed, forcing employees to work extra hours and even weekends, whenever required.
A 4-day workweek does not apply to specific functions such as client or customer support or tech support. These are 24/7 jobs and not every company may have resources to hire additional staff. In such cases, the traditional 5-day or 6-day workweek may be unavoidable.