More productivity and applicant interest
The study, done by the New Zealand based non-profit 4 Day Week Global, gave companies options to “meaningfully” lower the workweek to four days. Options might include one day a week off to reduce working days to around 32 hours per week, for example. However, workers must continue to receive 100% of their pay.
The 61 companies involved in the six-month study found a number of benefits. Employees spoke of their improved stress hardiness, mental health and even sleep. Meanwhile, company revenue actually jumped 35% on average year over year; Tyler Grange, a U.K.-based environmental consultancy, enjoyed a 22% leap in productivity.
What’s more, turnover and resignations dropped. The shorter week even helped with hiring. Tyler Grange saw job applications skyrocket by 88% and absenteeism shrink by 66%. Of all 61 companies, just three decided they wouldn’t move forward with a four-day workweek, or just 5%.
Great timing for companies seeking employees
With the Great Resignation as a symptom of post-pandemic strain — and remote work options exploding at an unprecedented rate — workers today demand far more flexibility and a better work-life balance, without giving up their work-at-home gains.
And with U.S. unemployment as of March still at 3.6% — a general level not seen since the first man landed on the moon — workers feel empowered to go anywhere they like to get it.
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In fact, 61% of Americans surveyed by LinkedIn, said that they were considering leaving their jobs. Among millennials and Gen Z Americans, that number hit an astounding 70%.
Recession? They’re not bothered. Bluster from a boss demanding a full-time return to the office? Bad, bad idea, unless your definition of success is an employee exodus — especially if the employer down the street has introduced a four-day workweek.
4 days not always possible
Clearly, some jobs can't accommodate a four-day week right away, if at all. Just as hospital workers had to show up for work at the most dangerous juncture of the pandemic, they’ll likely need to observe those five-day weeks barring a sudden influx of employees. In like manner, day care employees and teachers will need to continue the current five-day structure.
However, the 4 Day Week Global study shows the destructive effects of burnout in traditional workplaces — hence Sanders’ call for a better work-life balance achievable through technology.
Governments across the U.S. are taking meaningful steps to embrace the worldwide trend, with Maryland lawmakers introducing a bill to adopt a four-day workweek. California lawmakers have also introduced a bill that would require employers to pay overtime after 32 hours. Some of these transitions could yield incentives for companies that make the switch as early adopters.
Whatever the legalities and practicalities to address, it’s clear that workplace change is coming. Employees want more from their job and 4 Day Week co-founders Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart remain driven in their efforts to grow their movement. If you’re intrigued then perhaps take the weekend to think about it — and imagine how it would feel if that weekend were just a day longer.
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