Now more than ever, firms are looking for ways to attract and retain the best talent. Research suggests that moving to a four-day workweek could be the answer. Debates over the length of the workweek are nothing new. Prior to the 1920s, six days weeks were the norm. It wasn’t until 1926 and The Ford Motor Company that the Monday-to-Friday pattern we are familiar with took hold. An even shorter workweek is being hailed as the future of employee productivity. However, what are the secrets to making it work?
There is evidence that five can be made to fit into four and that a four-day week can actually boost productivity and creativity. However, planning is imperative. Otherwise, the mid-Friday panic simply gets shifted forward by a day.
Research finds that while employee wellbeing rises and burnout reduces with a four-day workweek, active disengagement also spikes. Workers who already feel disconnected are likely to drift further away if they work fewer days. Therefore, work harder than ever to promote an integrated company culture.
Work from the inside, out
The initial decision to grant a four-day workweek often comes from a good place. However, if there are already operational issues within the business it will only go on to highlight them further. Businesses need to develop a four-day work week from the inside, out.
The four-day work week further blurs the lines between home and work. It is, therefore, imperative that staff remain flexible for it to be effective. In today’s always-on environment, a day off is never completely off. Ensure that staff realise that they may still need to be on call for emergencies.
Offer new tools
To truly achieve the efficiencies to make a four-day work week viable, new tools and operating practices often need to be introduced. This is the time for naval gazing and examining internal business processes in detail. Leave no stone unturned.
The right time
The past two years have been like no other. Business has been turned on its head and workers have rethought their lives and careers in record numbers. This has contributed to the much talked about great resignation. Now more than ever, employers need to reconsider how best to attract and retain top talent.
Retaining staff doesn’t just come from paying the best wages. Rather, our research suggests that finding ways to reduce stress, avoid burnout and create a sense of fairness are all just as important in maintaining a mentally and physically healthy workforce that remain loyal and in roles.
The ability for businesses to pivot to a hybrid working environment quickly and successfully during the pandemic suggests that this could be the time to move to a four-day working week. The benefits to workers are numerous. Parents can spend more time with their children, golfers can spend more time on the fairways. Childcare costs and golf handicaps can plummet. However, there are numerous benefits to the business too if they keep in mind the points above.