During the pandemic, a number of businesses started rethinking the way they approach their workday and their workforce. Some made shifts to more days working remotely. Others shortened their workday to finish earlier than the traditional 5 pm. And some, shortened their entire work week by a full day.
All of these changes are starting to become more permanent transitions as companies realize they can work smarter, not harder while also taking advantage of some unique overhead-reducing benefits associated with non-traditional work schedules.
In New Zealand, Iceland, and portions of Europe where businesses have been testing the 4-day work week concept, the results have been interesting. Employees are generally happier, more productive, and use fewer sick days and personal hours as compared with their 5-day counterparts.
With a spare “business day” available to employees for doctor appointments, family obligations, and other out-of-office tasks, the need for extended lunches and half days drops dramatically. Likewise, with an extra day of weekend available, short 2-day and 3-day trips don’t require supervisor approval or special scheduling.
On the employer’s side of the equation, the 4-day workweek creates a powerful employee benefit scenario that doesn’t cost the company any more money to offer – and still ensures that the same work hours are being produced.
Before making the mistake of thinking companies are leaving money or opportunity on the table, consider that the average professional worker is becoming more efficient – due in large part to technology.
Client meetings don’t require a commute to someone else’s office; they can happen on videoconference. Automated dialers and virtual operators dramatically reduce the amount of time salespeople spend physically calling customers, managing busy signals, and updating client records.
Some of the most sophisticated systems claim increases in productive by as much as 40%! Digital document sharing streamlines revision processes contracts, creative work, and everything in between… and reduces the wait time for printing and mailing (gasp!) documents.
Across the board, labor experts estimate that workers are now completing their 40-hour workload in something closer to 28 to 30 hours. It adds up to an entire extra day that actually incentivizes employees to be less productive.
What’s important to realize is that shifting to a 4-day workweek doesn’t mean a company has to be closed on what would otherwise be a business day. In fact, companies that are successfully applying the 4-day model are doing so with rotating 4-day schedules that overlap with one another, providing more continuous coverage without exhausting employees.
As well, with a portion of the office always out, businesses are finding their office space needs are reduced as well, allowing them to save on what can be pricey commercial rental or real estate costs.
Is the entire professional world ready for the 4-day workweek? It depends on the nature of the business, the
skill level of employees, and available technologies within specific industries, but the possibility is becoming too attractive for businesses and workers to ignore.
About the VIBE Agency: The VIBE Agency is a Miami-based award-winning full-service production agency that specializes in the creation and orchestration of live and virtual experiences for the corporate industry.
The agency is forward-thinking and was recognized as one of the 50 top event companies by Special Events magazine in 2019 and 2020. Most recently, Valerie Bihet, founder of the VIBE was named a Smart Women in Meetings 2021 Hall of Fame honoree by Smartmeetings, for her consistent work advancing the industry. If it can’t be live, make it VIBE!