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The Four-day working-week


Is the traditional Monday – Friday working week soon to become a thing of the past?


A report carried out by Anghel and Cohen (2023), concluded that most of the companies who took part on a trial of the four-day working-week are not planning on returning to the five-day norm – a third of participants stated they are prepared to implement the change permanently.



Timsit (2023) confirmed that 91% of the participating companies claimed they would continue to implement the four-day workweek in their workplace once the trial had ended.


A recent survey carried out revealed that 76% of business leaders are now in favour of the four-day workweek. The desire for the Monday – Thursday schedule is on the rise, but is it right for your organisation?


You may want to look at a more hybrid workweek which can be flexed around the operational needs of your business. How can you adopt such a system?


Let’s look at the benefits:


  • The most prevalent benefit of the four-day workweek is the subsequent increase in productivity and overall quality of the work produced.

  • With an extra day of rest, your employees have more chance to relax, rest and maintain d desirable work-life balance.

  • Ultimately, this can increase the levels of mental focus and motivation in the workplace – both of which will positively influence the productivity levels you will see.

  • In the current economic climate, the four-day workweek has been identified as a cost saving benefit for organisations.

  • As an employer opting for a four-day workweek, you may see a reduction in spending as the need for certain overheads, such as payroll and utilities.

Five days a week becomes redundant. By reducing your outflows, you can invest money back into the business to encourage innovation and further development.


So how about the limitations?


Despite the attractiveness of the four-day week, it does come with some limitations, such as the reduced ability to satisfy client needs.


  • By extending your closing hours over the weekend, you make yourself unavailable to customers for an extra day.

    • Example: if a client had an issue, they needed to resolve on a Thursday afternoon, they may now need to wait until Monday for this to be rectified.

  • Customer dissatisfaction, potential complaints and decreased in profits.


Potential Issues:


This could lead to employee relation issues as a result of the four-day week, such as:


  • Employees may feel the need to overwork Monday – Thursday to meet their deadlines

  • Employees are working later on the days they are working, it can negatively impact on their work-life balance

  • There could be an increase in employee dissatisfaction, which can have a negative impact on employee motivation.


What can business leaders believe?


Research has observed the impact of the four-day workweek on both the individual and the organisation.


See below some findings:


Individual:

  • Significant impact on employee wellbeing and work-life balance

Organisational:

  • Significant benefits such as an improvement in employee

o Retention

o Reduction in absenteeism

o Increased employee engagement


If you want to implement a four-day workweek it requires careful planning and consideration:


  • Workloads need to be adjusted

  • Expectations need to be clearly communicated


From a coaching perspective, a four-day workweek can be significant, improving wellbeing, productivity, and organisational outcome.


Is Less really more?

As mentioned early in this article, the proposed four-day workweek can have a significant positive impact on your business, employees and profit margins, but the potential limitations should not go ignored. What you must decide, as a business leader, is whether the benefits outweigh the limitations.


It is important to remember that what works for one company may not necessarily work for another. The best way to find the answer is to trail it for yourself – ask you employees what they think, test it and importantly, keep an open mind. You might find that less really does equal more.

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