Could a four day work week be a good thing for your organization?

Could a four day work week be a good thing for your organization?

Check it out what you will find on this article about the benefits of four day work week:

  1. 1. It helps you rethink your workflow
  2. 2. It encourages working smarter
  3. 3. It has the potential to save a significant amount of resources
  4. 4. Good for mental health and work-life balance
 

Some nugget of wisdom found on the Internet: “My new employee asked to work from home. The she started to tell me the reason. I told her, ‘No need to apologize and I don’t need to know the details.’ I don’t pay for seat warmers. Come to the office fine. 9 to 5? Fine. Work from the garage while they fix your car? Fine. I don’t need to know you will be late because of a doctor’s appointment, or that you are leaving early to attend to a personal matter. Everybody works at a different pace. You choose how to get your work done. It’s sad how we have infantized the workplace so much, that employees feel the need to apologize for having personal lives. I am not a clock watcher. I trust you to get your job done. Keep clients happy, I am happy. The future lies in flexible work patterns.”

It may be a bit long, but it’s a very profound viewpoint that could very well help push and progress the workflow and work ethic of a lot of organizations today into a level that is significantly more efficient, more productive, more cost-effective, and more profitable. Part of this movement is the concept of the four day work week.

The idea of a four day work week has been floated around and toyed with for a LONG time now, but nobody really seems to be taking notice. Most traditional companies eschew the notion of employees only working four days, many going so far as to call the idea stupid or lazy, so the idea of a 9-5, Monday to Friday work day is still the dominant and go-to standard in many workplaces. While the idea of a four day work week may seem lazy on the surface, there really is more to the idea, and any critical thinker would do well to avoid simply dismissing the idea outright.

It may be surprising to many, but the four day work week isn’t as bad as some make it out or think it to be — it may even, in many cases, work to better serve an organization’s business purpose. And if it does, it may serve as one of the keys to your organization’s success. So let’s take a closer look at this (often) controversial issue.

Is it really so bad?

Before anything else, let’s start with some of the more obvious cons to the four day work week. For companies that need to be constantly available to clients (sometimes even during the weekends), a four day work week is out of the question. Some companies might also need the time a five day work week gives, and providing a four day work week to employees might cost them more money since they’d need to hire additional workers to help cover the unnecessary shortage of manpower.

Some organizations have also tried out a four day work week, only to go back to the regular 9 to 5, Monday to Friday setup. Treehouse, an online education company in Portland, Oregon was one such organization, reasoning that many employees failed to manage their workloads appropriately and that it ruined the work ethic for a lot of people. CEO Ryan Carson said in an interview that the initiative backfired on the company and even forced him to lay-off a number or employees. “It created this lack of work ethic in me that was fundamentally detrimental to the business and to our mission,” he said. “It actually was a terrible thing.” Carson still notes though, that working 40 hours isn’t a key to success either — he actually works 62 hours a week.

But while the four day work week might have failed for Treehouse, it has been extremely successful in many other settings. Researchers at the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology experimented with a four day work week at Perpetual Guardian, a financial services firm in New Zealand. Within the six week period of the trial, the study found that workers were not only happier — they were also at least 20% more productive. Stress levels went down by 7%, and employees reported a 24% boost to the quality of their work-life balance. The experiment was so successful that the firm now offers a permanent option to employees to work just four days a week. Glassdoor, an HR services firm, spoke to several CEOs about the four day work week, many of whom praised the model which has also been met with success in their respective firms. Many of these executives agreed that the shorter work week allowed not only them but also their employees to feel less pressured at work, and contributed to an increase in productivity. The four day work week allowed everyone to recharge, which in turn let people return to work refreshed and made them more driven, passionate, creative and motivated. Stephen Titchener, Creative Director of Two Guys Creative, told Glassdoor, “The impact it has had is amazing. Everyone in the office is much happier and we get a lot more work done because of it. There are no afternoon slumps or Monday blues because it gives people a chance to recharge and live their lives. They are better rested and enjoy coming to work more.”

Wildbit, a software company, has also seen success with a four day work week, which has been in place for around two years now, according to a story by CNN. Natalie Nagele, the company’s CEO and cofounder, told the news publication that the key to their success was not working less, but working smarter. She says everyone still puts in the same amount of work, but now they take less time to do it. The company gives employees more control over their schedule, and helps things by putting initiatives like limiting the number of meetings team members can have per week (only 2 30-minute ones per week, in case you were wondering), ensuring that there are less interruptions and distractions for employees. Employees are also encouraged to regularly check their schedules to see any points of improvement there are in terms of efficiency, and how they can better maximize the time they have to completely focus on work and essential tasks.

Why it makes sense: Summing up the benefits of a four day work week

 

All these things being said, there are a lot of great incentives for companies to shift or offer a four day work week to its employees. It’s definitely not for everyone, but the benefits such as system can offer can be very significant and undertaking such a move can create value that would not have otherwise been realized.

1. It helps you rethink your workflow.

 

How many meetings do you attend everyday? Are back-to-back meetings a norm in your organization? A four day work week will force everyone to adjust working with a shorter timeline, forcing everyone to rethink the way they spend their time. You start to ask questions like, “Is this meeting really necessary?” and gives people less excuses to waste time with distractions, because they know that they have a shorter timeframe to work. In many cases, an entire overview of your workflow as an organization may have to undergo a revamp, and you’ll be able to identify any unnecessary or repetitive parts, and make the whole process much more efficient.

2. It encourages working smarter.

 

Again, working four days helps eliminate all the inefficient parts of a workflow. Even for individual employees, they’ll bring this whole mindset to the way they work. Regardless of the project or task they’ll be working on, the four day work week encourages employees to find ways to work smarter and more efficiently. Especially if you adapt the objective and key results (OKR) method, the working smart mindset that the four day work week encourages can go a long way in making things happen.

3. It has the potential to save a significant amount of resources.

Imagine how much energy an office uses every day. Taking a day off will help reduce energy costs (and be much more environment friendly-too!). Same thing with other resources employees consume in an office setting in a normal, daily setting. Both in the short-term and the long-term, organizations can cut down expenses because of the four day work week.

 

Marta Stefaniuk a manager at Chicago-based firm Merge Design + Interactive believes that both people health and the fiscal health of companies benefit from a four day work week. “People would get to spend more time with friends they care about instead of forming artificial relationships ‘work friends’ and employees would be healthier both physically and mentally. This in turn would save companies a good sum of money,” she said in an interview.

4. Good for mental health and work-life balance.

Many who have had experience with a four day work week have been unanimous in their praise for the working method as a means to enabling a better work-life balance. This leads to better mental health, which is an essential key to enabling all members of the organization — from the members of the c-suite on top to the rank-and-filers at the bottom of the ladder — to be more motivated to work, and spurs them to be more productive. Workers with good mental health and are happy have been proven to deliver vastly superior output compared to workers who were tired, haggard, and unhappy. Plus, satisfied employees also have the benefit of having the tendency to be much more engaging towards customers (in applicable industries), resulting in better sales and customer satisfaction. It’s the sort of win-win scenario where everyone benefits and walks away happy.

Closing thoughts

In the end, a four day work week is simply a tool your organization can use to reach your goals. It’s important to think things through and determine that you have the right technology, digital initiatives, and social business tools at your disposal in order for your business to cut down on expenses, see a boost in productivity, help make workflows more efficient, have a means to seek out and act on points of improvement in the organization as a whole.

To this end, so whether you still prefer to stick to the traditional 9 to 5 work week or try out a four day work week, Runrun.it has what you need to make things happen. It’s suite of pioneering and innovative workflow enhancement and efficiency solutions help organizations easily generate real-time data on how time is being spend on tasks, allows for better and faster communication and collaboration between individuals and teams, and makes processes within the organization much more transparent. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To see how Runrun.it’s tools and tech can help your particular organization, check out the free trial here.

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