4-day work week

22nd January 2020

The concept of a 4-day work week has been around for a while. For over 80 years the concept of a shorter working week has been debated. In 1928 an economist called John Maynard Keynes predicted a 15-hour workweek. After all, technology is advancing at a phenomenal rate. Productivity has skyrocketed since the 1920s, it’s about time that the working week is re-examined.

Recently the Prime Minister of Finland reintroduced the topic of the 4-day work week. Sanna Marin is newly elected and believes that “people deserve to spend more time with their families, loved ones, hobbies and other aspects of life, such as culture. This could be the next step for us in working life.” She raised the idea at a panel discussion.

Reaction to Sanna’s message has been mixed. While some companies maintain the hours per day at 8, some companies make up for the lost time by asking employees to work for 10 hours. This 4/10 week might not the best option for the well-being of the employees. In 2008 the local state government of Utah implemented a 4/10 work week. The compressed work week was launched to reduce overhead costs, improve efficiency and conserve energy. In 2010 an audit showed the savings failed to materialize and the policy was ended. While Utah may not have the success they needed, Microsoft has seen better results.

In a subsidiary in Japan, Microsoft experimented with a 4-day work week. The outcome was remarkable, there was a 40% boost in productivity. By closing the office every Friday and reducing time in meetings to 30 minutes or less staff were far more productive than the previous year. The staff did not increase their daily hours for this experiment or have their pay decreased. The benefit to the employees is clear to see but the benefits for the company are just as good. Microsoft notes that the number of pages that were printed was down 58%. The electricity consumption was also down by 23.1%.

There are two models for a 4-day week the first is 8 hours a day 4/8. The second model sees the daily hours increase to 10 to make up for the lost day 4/10. Cramming 40 hours of work into 4 ten-hour days, can undermine the good intentions of a 4-day week. Utah did not see the saving that it expected, while Microsoft had a very successful outcome.  Microsoft’s 4/8 week was more successful for the company and the employees.

The decision to implement a 4-day work week depends on the nature of the business. If the company is providing a valuable service, it might need to be open on a Friday. An alternative schedule could be needed to rotate the staff that are asked to work on a Friday. 1Time Tracking has a time recording solution that can help with flexible or alternative schedules. Employees receive reminders to record their time, so no micro-managing is required. In a results only working environment, employees have full autonomy over their schedules. With a balance of autonomy, accountability and a great time tracking APP like 1Time, staff can be more productive, healthier and actually do more for the company.

If you or your company is interested in exploring the benefits of a 4-day work week, or improving productivity, then try our 30-day free trial. https://1timetracking.com/pricing/

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