Is a four-day workweek in your future? As we look at the ever-changing landscape of the future of work and what “normal” looks like, four-day workweeks have come to the forefront of the discussion. What has long been a hot topic of conversation amongst drained and tired employees has recently had new life breathed into the conversation, with features on the idea in The New York Times, NPR, and politicians like Bernie Sanders, including the idea in his policy discussions.
What led to the resurgence of the debate on the four-day workweek? Microsoft. And statistics. Microsoft Japan tested a four-day work week this summer, giving employees a three-day weekend to enjoy every single week, while still receiving their normal paychecks. What was the result of this test period? A productivity boost of 40%. And the efficiencies don’t stop there. Here are just a few benefits of a four-day workweek:
Happier, more engaged employees – It’s no surprise people enjoy free-time. It’s also should be no surprise that Friday is the least productive day of the workweek. Giving employees more time to do things they enjoy increases their overall happiness, and likely loyalty to a company – without impacting outputs. It’s win-win.
Reduced meeting time – When Microsoft tested their four-day work week, they held less meetings and reduced most meeting times from 60 minutes to 30 minutes. It makes sense, as less work time equals less time available for meetings. This also leads to less wasted time. As HBR discovered in a recent survey, 71% of those surveyed said meetings are unproductive and 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. Less time in meetings means more time working on things that matter.
Energy conservation – To start, shifting to a four-day work week would eliminate 20% of overhead expenses, like electricity and air-conditioning. A shorter workweek also lessens paper usage as less items are being printed, reduces water consumption and overall energy consumption.
It makes sense as the world of work changes, and the way we think about work changes, organizations become more flexible in their working hours. Traditional models of a 9-5, Monday through Friday gig are dying. It is all about flexibility in the workplace, and a long weekend not only benefits employees – but company’s bottom lines as well.