Imagine coming in to office for only four days a week, instead of having to slog it out for forty hours (or more, for certain industries). A few enterprising offices around the world have experimented with a four-day work week and saw some overwhelmingly positive results. From improved workplace morale to improvements in employee health, the four-day work week proved to be truly impactful – so much so that it has now been implemented at certain companies as the norm. Here are the most important takeaways:
Increased productivity Burning the midnight oil to rush out projects and assignments do not make you more productive. If anything, this has this opposite effect. Though it may seem contradictory at first, working longer hours does not result in more work being done.
Findings from a New Zealand law firm revealed that a 4-day work week made employees more productive than usual. Time spent in meetings were slashed, social media use decreased and employees were less distracted. More was accomplished in less time, and people reportedly found themselves willing to go out of their way to help their colleagues or pitch in with extra work.
Reconnecting with loved ones With an entire extra day to focus on themselves, employees were able spend time with their families and engage in leisurely activities such as shopping, taking their pets on long walks and eating meals with their family, or completing chores such as appointments and health check-ups without taking time off of work. Mothers returning to the workforce reaped the most benefits from the 4-day work week, as the longer weekend gave them more time to care for their young children.
Improved health The shorter work week restored a sense of work-life balance into the lives of employees, who were less stressed and experienced less creative burnout. Findings from companies who had experimented with a 32-hour work week showed that workers were more motivated to complete the tasks at hand. With improvements to their physical and mental well-being, staff members were found to be more engaged and focused in their work.
A five-week workday is lengthy, and it is not uncommon for people to experience work-fatigue. With a restricted amount of time to complete work and more off-days to look forward to, people were motivated to accomplish everything on their to-do list.
A chance to re-prioritise When given an extra day off from work, research showed that employees were likely to use the time to upskill themselves by enrolling in classes or earning extra qualifications related to their line of work. With the newly gained knowledge, they were able to kickstart new workplace initiatives or work towards gaining promotions. The extra day allowed them to sort out their top priorities and make concentrated efforts towards achieving their goals.