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The Pros and Cons of a 4-Day Working Week for Employers

12 October 2022

Over 3,300 workers at 70 UK companies have started working a four-day work week on a full payroll. The six-month trial project is based on the 100-80-100 model, which pays 100% for 80% of the time in exchange for a promise to maintain 100% productivity.

The CEO of charity organization 4 Day Week Global, Joe O'Connor, told the newspaper, Guardian that as we come out of the pandemic, "more and more firms are realizing that the new frontier for competition is quality of life." Limited hours and more outcome is the means through which they can achieve the competitive advantage.

Since the working model is still in the trial phase, research experts are analyzing the results. The outcome has been positive so far with a few challenges. Let’s dig more into the pros and cons of this work model.

Pros

1. Increased Productivity

Sanford University's researched and found the connection between the two factors for productivity. Employees that are overworked are actually less productive than those who work an ordinary or typical work week.

Another research on a 4-day work week conducted by Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand-based corporation showed supporting results. With a 4-day work week, employee productivity remained constant, and they also showed increased job satisfaction, teamwork, work-life balance, and loyalty to the company. Additionally, there was a reduction in employee stress of 38%-45%.

2. An Equal Workplace

According to the Government Equalities Office's Equal Workplace Research on the Gender Pay Gap, 89% of the 2 million British adults who are currently unemployed due to childcare obligations are women. Employees would be able to spend more time with their families and better balance work and care obligations if the work week was reduced to 4 days, making it easier for women to juggle between household chores and corporate responsibilities.

3. Improved Employee Engagement

Employees who work 4 days a week tend to be more content and dedicated as they have plenty of time to rest and recover. With more time to unwind themselves, employees are less likely to feel pressured or need to take time off for illness. They feel prepared to take on new tasks when they return to work as well.

Sweden undertook a trial study investigating a shortened work week from 2015 to 2017. A nursing home's nurses only put in 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. Nurses reported fewer sick days, better physical and emotional wellbeing, and higher levels of engagement as they planned 85% more activities for the patients under their care.

So, be it less days or less hours, research studies prove that workers become more committed to their job roles.

Cons

1. Difficulty in Balancing Shift Patterns

One of the most prominent drawbacks of a 4-day work week is that it becomes slightly more difficult to maintain a Monday to Friday business schedule. Some days of the week could be more fiercely fought than others depending on your place of employment. It's possible that everyone decides they want a day off on Monday, Friday, or in the middle of the week. The office may come to a halt if there are too many or too few people there.

Solution: As an employer, you must talk to the workers regarding the preferred days before initiating this work model. With coordination and understanding among employees, 4-day work model can be possible.

2. Fatigue and Stress May Compromise

Working only for 4 days a week could sound appealing to your employees, but the effects could leave them with a day that is packed with extra meetings. This suggests far more intensity, which in turn implies stress and exhaustion.

Employers and employees will eventually require greater commitment over the course of the 4 days. The issue of whether a 3-day weekend's advantages can offset this extra job stress is brought up.

Solution: If employees are smart enough to manage their tasks, nothing can be nerve-wracking for them.

3. Less Working Time

Reducing the amount of hours that employees are required to work is one solution for a 4-day work week that improves productivity according to studies. However, your workforce might not necessarily think so. It can be difficult to convince employees to complete the same tasks in less time, ultimately they will ask for extended deadlines.

Solution: It’s just that they may feel difficulty in this transition phase. Employers must coordinate with their workers to help them achieve their targets with ease in 4-day work model. Once they understand the tactic, they will be swiftly managing their job responsibilities.

Final Word

According to most of the studies, a 4-day work week is a more flexible, productive and well-being focused model. Though it has a few drawbacks but they can be resolved too.