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๐Ÿ’ฅ Four-day Workweek ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Apr 27, 2023

Is the 5-day workweek coming to an end? ๐Ÿค”

Have you heard the most recent office gossip? A 4-day work week may soon become a reality. The government is being urged by the TUC (Trade Union Congress) to assist workers in working less hours for the same pay.

Now that the scenario is so favourable, you're asking how it even came about. Why would employers permit staff to work just 4 days a week? The business won't suffer as a result, right? You can give credit to your new robot employees. Technology advancements may enable employees to complete the same amount of work in less time while still ensuring customer service.

Every facet of every industry in every country, including how and when we work, will be profoundly disrupted by AI technology. We may expect to see a rise in flexible work schedules like the 4-day work week in the near future. In fact, according to TUC, if companies are compelled to share the advantages of new technology with their workers, a 4-day workweek may become a reality within this century.


Exactly what is a 4 Day Work Week? ๐Ÿคท‍โ™‚๏ธ

Work will fill the space you give to it. But more hours does not mean better work. Might we be more effective and productive overall if we worked less? Might we become better people both at work and at home?

Perhaps you already know someone who works compressed hours, putting in full-time labour for more than 35 hours spread over 4 days. A 4-day workweek is not a compressed workweek; rather, it is a workweek with less hours. The worker would work around 28 hours over 4 days and have a 3-day weekend.

A 4-day work week may seem radical, but since the late 19th century the average number of hours worked per week has been steadily declining. The government calculated that a full-time worker in a manufacturing firm put in an average of 100 hours per week in 1890. By the middle of the 20th century, workers in manufacturing only put in 40 hours per week. Cutting our present work week down to 28 hours is not as extreme as it sounds.


๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐ž๐ง๐ž๐Ÿ๐ข๐ญ๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐š ๐Ÿ’ ๐ƒ๐š๐ฒ ๐–๐จ๐ซ๐ค ๐–๐ž๐ž๐ค? ๐Ÿ†

A 4 day work week is a relatively new idea, partly as a result of recent technological improvements. But, a few businesses have previously tested the concept, and the outcomes are encouraging for both employees and employers.


โœ… ๐ผ๐‘›๐‘๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘ƒ๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘‘๐‘ข๐‘๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘ฃ๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘ฆ

Sanford University's in-depth investigation of the connection between the two parameters and productivity showed a strong link between them. Those that are overworked are actually less productive than those who work an ordinary or typical workweek.

Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand-based corporation, ran a 4-day workweek trial study. Employee productivity remained constant, and they also displayed increased job satisfaction, teamwork, work-life balance, and business loyalty. Stress levels among employees decreased from 45% to 38%.

Given that some of the most productive nations in the world like Norway, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands work an average of roughly 27 hours per week - the same number of hours suggested for a UK 4-day workweek - the study's findings are not particularly surprising. In contrast Japan, a country famed for its overworked workforce, comes in 20th place out of 35 nations for productivity.


โœ… ๐ด๐‘› ๐ธ๐‘ž๐‘ข๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘Š๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘˜๐‘๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘’

According to research on the Gender Pay Gap conducted by the Government Equalities Office, 89% of the 2 million British citizens 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 workweek was reduced to 4 days.


โœ… ๐บ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐ธ๐‘›๐‘”๐‘Ž๐‘”๐‘’๐‘š๐‘’๐‘›๐‘ก ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐ธ๐‘š๐‘๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘ฆ๐‘’๐‘’๐‘ 

Employees who work 4 days a week tend to be more content and dedicated. As they have plenty of time to rest and recover, 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 a result.

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. Overall, the results were encouraging with nurses reporting fewer sick days, better physical and emotional wellbeing and higher levels of involvement as they planned 85% more activities for the patients under their care.


โœ… ๐ด ๐‘†๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘™๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐ถ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘› ๐น๐‘œ๐‘œ๐‘ก๐‘๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘›๐‘ก

Reducing our workweek from 5 to 4 days may also benefit the environment because nations with shorter workweeks often have lower carbon footprints. As our workweek is shorter, fewer employees must commute, and major office buildings are only occupied 4 days a week.

In a study for state employees the US state of Utah found that cutting the typical work week from 5 to 4 days by employing a compressed work schedule had a major ecological impact. The enormous office building was shut down on Fridays for the first 10 months of the project saving about US$1.8 million (£1.36 million) in energy expenses and at least 6,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. By working 1 day less every week Utah calculated that it could save 12,000 metric tons of CO2, or the equivalent of taking 2,300 automobiles off the road for an entire year.

Other benefits also include attracting and retaining talent, better team communication and improved meeting practices.


๐€๐ซ๐ž ๐“๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐€๐ง๐ฒ ๐ƒ๐ข๐ฌ๐š๐๐ฏ๐š๐ง๐ญ๐š๐ ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ ๐š ๐Ÿ’ ๐ƒ๐š๐ฒ ๐–๐จ๐ซ๐ค ๐–๐ž๐ž๐ค? ๐Ÿ™…‍โ™‚๏ธ

A 4 day work week has numerous advantages, but there are a few drawbacks as well. Some of the earlier investigations, including the one with Swedish nurses, came to the conclusion that the initiative wasn't financially viable. A 4-day workweek might be challenging to implement because it needs the necessary infrastructure, tools, and workplace culture. Unavoidably, new changes will experience certain difficulties and drawbacks.


โŒ ๐ถ๐‘ข๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘†๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘“๐‘Ž๐‘๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘›

The Utah project, which produced excellent environmental outcomes as well as benefits for both employees and employers, was actually shut down because of low consumer satisfaction. Consumers complained that Friday office closures prevented them from using government services. Customer satisfaction difficulties could be resolved by using technology, such as chatbots and AI-powered websites, as it would give clients another help option in addition to office-based workers.


โŒ ๐น๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘ ๐‘’ ๐ด๐‘๐‘๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘Ž๐‘โ„Ž

Many people equated reduced hours with the idea of a 4-day work week. Workers who are required to work the same 35 hours over 4 days will actually be less productive and their engagement, work-life balance and general happiness may also suffer. A 4 day work week should consist of typical 7 hour workdays to produce the appropriate results. Everything that has been said about a 4-day workweek is brimming with missionary zeal.

It is accurate to say that workers who worked 4 days a week felt more satisfied with their level of independence, sense of value and job stability, than those who worked a 5-day workweek. But when workers were surveyed again after 25 months almost all of them acknowledged that the improvements had disappeared.

The information also showed that a number of claimed advantages of the 4-day workweek occur only in the short term. Separating fact from opinion, hope from reality, and the short run from the long run is therefore vital when reading about the benefits of a 4-day workweek.


โŒ ๐‘†โ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ก-๐‘™๐‘–๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘œ๐‘ ๐‘ก

The ideology is to blame for the enthusiasm for a 4-day workweek: When individuals see a new system, they automatically believe it to be advantageous just because it is new. The Hawthorne effect can be used to describe this.

Employee morale will surely increase if an organization implements the 4-day workweek policy. The initiative will be deemed successful. Yet, the adoption of a 4-day workweek will merely treat the surface symptoms of workplace problems.

When the novelty of the 4-day workweek wears off, morale will also gradually revert to its pre-4-day workweek levels. The 4-day workweek might begin to be seen by employees as an entitlement rather than a luxury. Similar to how they did when the workweek was cut from 6 to 5, the workforce may soon take the 4-day workweek for granted.


โŒ ๐ท๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘‘๐‘ฃ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘”๐‘’๐‘  ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘ฆ ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘’ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘กโ„Ž ๐‘Ž ๐‘๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘๐‘’

The apparent benefit of having 1 more day off appears to be the main driver of support for the 4-day workweek. There is a price for that extra day off. If asked, would employees' responses to the new "10-hour workday" be as positive?

Employees in a 4-day workweek trial in France eventually worked the same number of hours as previously. The only distinction? Overtime compensation was a necessary expense that the corporation had to pay. According to a study, employees who had compressed schedules also had greater absence rates than those who had regular work schedules.


โŒ ๐ด๐‘“๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘Ž ๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘Ž๐‘™ ๐‘๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘‘, ๐‘œ๐‘๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘š๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘š ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐‘“๐‘Ž๐‘‘๐‘’

The high percentages of employee acceptance of the 4-day workweek were called into question by Myron Fottler. Let's use one of Fottler's studies as an example to comprehend the issues he had with a 4-day workweek.

Employees were given the option to Reject or Accept a 4-day workweek after a trial period. At this point, employee acceptance decreased. When the program had been in place for 6 months just 56% of employees opted to keep it going. The countless publications in favour of the campaign fail to address these glaring drawbacks of a 4-day workweek.


โŒ ๐ถ๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘“๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘”๐‘ข๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘  ๐‘™๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘™๐‘ 

Working only 4 days a week could sound appealing but the effects could leave workers with a day that is packed with extra meetings. This suggests far more intensity, which in turn implies tension and exhaustion. Employers 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.


โŒ ๐ผ๐‘ ๐‘ ๐‘ข๐‘’๐‘  ๐‘™๐‘–๐‘˜๐‘’ ๐‘”๐‘’๐‘›๐‘‘๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘–๐‘›๐‘’๐‘ž๐‘ข๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘ฆ ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘ฆ ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘’

The final issue we have with a 4-day workweek is concealed in the particular circumstance where men and women would use the extra day off and use it differently. Men have a competitive edge in the use of a 4-day workweek if they use such flexible policies to work when they are productive while women use them to care for children.

Another significant but understudied question is how the 4-day workweek affects senior employees. Before a 4-day workweek is implemented, the health effects of increased work hours on an aged population must be taken into consideration.


๐“๐ก๐ž ๐…๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ฌโ—

Numerous businesses now use 4-day or shorter workweeks, and so far the results have been favourable. These businesses are demonstrating that it benefits both the company and its employees. Businesses in the UK that tested the 4-day workweek for 6 months are now intending to adopt it permanently after praising the "very good" outcome of the study.

This 4-day workweek trial, which began on June 6 and involves 61 enterprises and over 2,900 employees, is the largest of its kind in the world to date. Its goal is to determine how shorter workweeks affect workplace productivity, employee well-being, the environment and gender equality.

With the pilot being hailed as a "huge breakthrough" a large majority of the enterprises that took part in the experiment - ๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐Ÿ—๐Ÿ ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐œ๐ž๐ง๐ญ - have chosen to maintain the 4-day workweek policy after the trial period. Employees in the trial are expected to adhere to the "100:80:100 model" in which they receive 100% of their compensation for 80% of the time in exchange for a promise to retain at least 100% of their output. The organization 4 Day Week Global, which supports a reduced workweek, is running various trial programs around the world, including one in the UK.


The results were as follow:

โœ”๏ธ 92 percent of the participating employers continue to operate on a 4-day workweek

โœ”๏ธ Average company sales increased by 1.4%

โœ”๏ธ 96% of employees want a 4-day work week

โœ”๏ธ Stress levels among employees decreased by 39%

โœ”๏ธ Burnout among employees decreased by 71%

โœ”๏ธ 54% of employees reported fewer negative feelings.


๐Ÿ“ˆ A remarkable 92% of US workers support the shorter workweek even if it means working longer hours, according to a survey by cloud software provider Qualtrics. The employees who participated in the poll identified improved mental health and more productivity as the benefits. 3 out of 4 workers (74%) claim they could finish the same amount of work in 4 days, but the majority (72%) claim they would need to put in more time during the workdays to do so.


๐Ÿ“ˆ According to a study by the international job agency Indeed 41% of Canadian companies are contemplating new work patterns and alternate hybrid schedules in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Indeed's study of 1,000 employers of office workers in Canada indicated that 51 per cent of major organizations with 500+ employees would be "likely to embrace 4-day workweeks". In contrast 63% of medium-sized businesses with 100–500 employees said they would be open to implementing a reduced workweek.


๐Ÿ“ˆ According to a recent study by Maru Public Opinion the majority of full-time workers in Canada (79%) were also found to be open to cutting their 5-day workweek down to 4 days. The 4-day workweek is gradually gaining popularity around the world although it is unclear if governments will embrace it permanently.


๐Ÿฆ  The COVID-19 pandemic has renewed discussions about the 4-day workweek prompting both employees and employers to reconsider the value of workplace flexibility and benefits. The concept is straightforward: employees would put in the same amount of work, 4 days a week, for the same pay and benefits.

So, businesses with shorter workweeks would do business with fewer meetings and more independent work. The 4-day workweek is seen to be the future of employee productivity and work-life balance, and proponents claim that when it is put into practice, worker satisfaction rises and productivity rises as well.


๐‚๐จ๐ง๐œ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐Ÿ’ก

What happened to all those ideas for 4-day workweeks that were so well-liked? The 4-day workweek reached its apex before fading away, similar to many previous fads. An initial surge of enthusiasm for the 4-day workweek swiftly faded away. Currently, the global blogosphere is experiencing a fresh wave of interest.

This argument is essential in forming discussions about the benefits and drawbacks of a 4-day workweek, and it can persuade managers to hold off on drastic changes. We must keep in mind the lessons of the past and exercise prudence when debating the future of the 4-day workweek. ๐Ÿ“…

Although while we haven't quite reached this point, there may soon be a day when technology, especially AI, surpasses the skills of human workers. The future of work and the best way to safeguard and advance the welfare of human workers will then require us to make some important decisions. One workable solution is a 4-day workweek which would allow for business as normal while allowing people to still have fulfilling professions with a better work/life balance.

Several academics contend that the number of hours worked was not reduced overall. They were altered so that workers might take advantage of productive downtime. According to an Icelandic study, working less hours can be achieved by cutting down on meetings, decreasing breaks and removing pointless chores. Companies don't have to "reduce hours"; they can give employees the freedom to choose how they want to work. They can support work-life balance and advance the psychological and physical well-being of employees. They can also reorganize things to give staff members the option to turn off technology-enabled job duties (like email) when they're not on the clock. โฐ

To lay the framework for this transformation and make sure that employees, not only businesses, benefit from this new technology, the TUC has called for a 4-day workweek.

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