Is a Four Day Work Week Right for Your Organization?

If your organization is struggling with turnover, recruitment, and retention, one current trend to consider is the four-day workweek. Organizations that explore this option are hoping to better attract employees in the current tight labor market.

One six-week trial at a New Zealand financial firm involving almost 250 employees was so successful that the company made the four-day option permanent. During the trial, workers were 20 percent more productive and reduced their stress levels by 7 percent. Also, team engagement increased by 20 percent, and employees showed a 24 percent improvement in work-life balance after downshifting to a 32-hour week while still being paid for 40 hours. Two of the world’s most prominent accounting organizations, Deloitte and KPMG, have also successfully implemented the four-day workweek, with workers responsible for putting in their full 40 hours over those days.

Aloha Hospitality recently announced a four-day week for store-level managers at its Alabama restaurants. “It’s a win-win for not just our team, but our guests,” said CEO Bob Baumhower in a press release. “We want our team to be fresh, energized, and focused on a legendary guest experience.

There are a few questions you should ask if your organization is considering going to a 4-day schedule:

  • Is the current level of trust between supervisors and employees sufficient that this can be successful?
  • Is it company-wide or specific to a particular part of the business?
  • Is it effective immediately upon hire, or does it kick in after a year of employment?
  • Will both exempt and non-exempt employees be eligible?
  • Is it limited to a specific time of year or year-round?
  • Can you build a business case for it?
  • How would it, if at all, affect benefits and salary?
  • How would you define boundaries of accessibility on days off?
  • Would there be a trial period, say 1-3 months, to ensure productivity did not suffer?

 

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found that productivity is highest when people work fewer hours, and worker output actually drops once people clock in more than 48 hours per week. Currently, 15 percent of organizations offer a four day work week, up 2 percent from 2017. If the four-day workweek makes for more committed and productive employees, this might be a trend worth exploring!