Four-Day Workweek

OPINION: The Dual Nature of a Four-Day Workweek

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Can a compressed workweek be beneficial for employees as well as the management of an organization? Can a four-day workweek result in enhanced and result-oriented outcomes?

The concept of a five-day workweek has been around since the inception of the industrial revolution. However, in recent years, several organizations have come forward to institute a four-day working schedule for their overall well-being. This shortened workweek may soon become a reality for many employees in California.

4-day Workweek in California

While a shortened workweek may be a pipe dream, countries and businesses have been experimenting with it for years. Ideally (for years), the duration of an entire work week is 40 hours. However, the California State Legislature may fasten the clock and define a workweek as 32 hours and not 40. The California State Assembly’s Labor and Employment Committee will decide if the bill will move forward.

Under the Four-day workweek bill:

  • 32 working hours instead of 40 for companies with +500 employees
  • No cut in pay for the shortened workweek
  • Compensation for employees doing overtime at the rate of no less than 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay.

The Two Halves of a Four-Day Workweek

The Two Halves of a Four-Day Workweek

Proponents of the four-day workweek suggest how the same amount of work can be done in less time. More organizations are experimenting with it as a means of addressing employee well-being. Recently, various companies across the U.S. and Canada began a six-month pilot of a four-day workweek—led by 4 Day Week Global.

The idea is that employees work 80% of the time for 100% of the pay and maintain 100% productivity. It comes down to working more efficiently, including cutting back on unnecessary meetings. According to studies, a four-day workweek can:

  • Boost productivity
  • Save money
  • Lower a company’s carbon footprint.

Having an extra day off comes with several downsides to be considered. But don’t worry, these difficulties can also be solved. The California Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill, calling it a “job killer”. This is because it will end up imposing more costs on businesses.

Following are some downsides of implementing a four-day workweek:

  • If you’re providing a service, there’s a good chance your clients will run into urgent issues that require support. As a result, employees may need to be available Monday through Friday.
  • While working fewer work days might sound like a good idea, there are numerous factors that can determine whether it impacts stress.
  • The point is that, for employees to thrive, a 4-day workweek may entail a productivity change.

The End Note

One method to learn more about the four-day workweek is to conduct a short-term experiment, as several countries and businesses have done to see how it affects their operations. Consider how you’ll change your processes and expectations if you’re considering a four-day workweek, so your employees can make the most of their time.

Also Read: The Mathematics of “3 Day Weekend = 4 Working Days” in the Long-Run



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