Four Day Work Week

4 Day Work Week; The Working Schedule For The People

What would you say if I told you I could grant you more free time, reduce carbon emissions, child care and fuel costs while not directly impacting your salary? Too good to be true? It is in the work obsessed culture we have created in the western world.

Having already explored the flawed concept of the 9-5 we can take flexibility to the next level and discuss the four day work week. I cannot promise you the four hour work week like Tim Ferris does but exploring the peoples schedule of the 4 day work week is a genuine opportunity for all those employed.

The tiny country of The Gambia recently granted public sector workers the opportunity to work Monday – Thursday working 8am until 6pm. The 40 hours a week mantra is still intact however an extra day has now been granted for prayer, social activities and agriculture.  Some would argue that The Gambia is not exactly a economic powerhouse but how about The Netherlands? It’s known that  1 in 3 men either work part time or 40 hours in 4 days. That’s a high proportion of the working population and their economy isn’t doing too bad.

By why can’t more in the west grasp this concept and remove the 9-5 standard? Simply put because it removes the shackles companies like to have on employees.

A working schedule for the people?:

A company is only as good as the people it employs and equally the key to a productive employee is work happiness. Flexible working hours are becoming more prominent within business but still there is a requirement for employees to be in the office 5 days a week unless of course they work part time hours.

But what would the problem be in implementing the 4 day work week and how could companies and employees benefit from this. The basic premise is that organisations and employees can reap a range of social, economic and environmental benefits from implementing such a scheme.

Still unconvinced? Here are some employee, company and economic benefits businesses could gain from this type of working week.

 

Employee Benefits:

Childcare Reduction:

Childcare is expensive and with the current economic climate families are struggling to pay childcare costs required when the parent is in work. Implementing a 4 day working week while still maintaining full time hours can help families financially.  Not only this but the parent gains another day with their child thus building on the parent/child relationship.

This would work even better if two parent families both had 4 day work weeks as they could take alternative days thus reducing the cost of child care even further.  The benefit on both a financial level and a child/parent relationship level is a huge gain for any modern family.

More Free Time/Family Time:

As echoed above the increase in family time would be significant as the child would have more time with it’s parent. There’s of course a counter argument to suggest that the later working hours would mean the parent had less time with the child on other days however the overall benefits of a full day with the child outweighs this slight negative.

Those without children would benefit from the extra day of free time. Working hard for four days and then having three days break would allow individuals to have further free time to complete chores, exercise, spend time with friends and essentially gain a better quality of life.

Less Commuting:

Commuting is tough, especially in large cities where commuting can be anywhere from 30 minutes up to 1hr 30 minutes. By implementing a 4 day a work week the commuting time is significantly reduced as there is no commute required for one clear day. Not only this but with the added hours on the 4 day work week you will be required to go to work earlier and leave later meaning you may miss the ‘peak’ commuting time thus reducing your overall commute on working days.

I know people who commute long distances and they find the process extremely taxing physically and mentally. If as an employer you can reduce this and still get the same level of output then who wouldn’t want to help a member of staff?

Reduction in Fuel Required:

Fuel prices continue to rise as does the amount of money we have to pay for commuting back and forth from work. Wouldn’t it be a financial relief if the amount of petrol required was reduced by 20%? Over the month this is a full weeks fuel. Quite a saving and money which could be used elsewhere. Couple this with the other financial savings does this make genuine sense? I think so.
 

Productivity Improvement:

The productivity point is up for debate given the amount of extra hours per day however with an extra day off work, less commuting, more family time and less financial woes the general happiness of the employee must improve. A change in happiness with one’s working conditions typically results in an improvement in productivity. Happy people in work are more productive than unhappy people. It’s a fact.

Studies have shown that health improvements have been made via four day work weeks with less people having days off  as they have more time to recuperate from illnesses.

 

Company Benefits:

Refreshed workers:

Workers on a 4 day work week will have a longer rest period and should come into the office Monday further refreshed and ready to tackle the week. Rest is extremely important in the business world especially on both body and mind and the company will benefit from workers who have recuperated over the extended time too. 

Happier Workforce:

Implementing a more flexible working week will appeal to all. If someone is happy working 5 days a week they can continue with that schedule however giving the opportunities to your workforce to work around their family and home life will create a sense of happiness.

I want to work in an organisation where my home life and well being is valued.  Employee satisfaction and work happiness is bound to rise and typically results in a more productive, successful workforce.

Recruiting Benefits/Employee Retention:

Flexible working hours are a pull for any job. If my job search came down to two roles one which had rigid/structures working hours or one which offered flexible working then I would choose the latter.

The recruiting benefit and employee retention possibilities associated with flexible working particularly a 4 day work week are huge. Figures suggest that both recruiting and staff retention are higher in companies which offer flexibility with their working schedules. Want to attract great staff and retain the rock stars? Offer some type of flexibility.

 

Economic Benefits:

Putting aside the benefits to both the employee and the company we also have the economic & environmental benefits of adopting such a scheme. Less cars on the road results in few carbon emissions, 20% less fuel reduces the amount of non renewable energy used. Equally we need to look into further measures including the wear and tear on vehicles and potentially fewer accidents due to less cars on the road. All these contribute to the benefits attached to a four day work week so why haven’t we adopted this?

People and companies are scared of change. We don’t change the way we work because we are conditioned to work in a specific way and have been for some time now. Those innovators who adapt and change to match their people win in business.

Would you want to change your working hours to adapt to match the 4/10 workweek? Are you a business owner who is considering allowing this flexi time approach for your employees? Alternatively are you a busy owner who believes in a rigid working schedule for all employees to match? We would love to hear from you in the comments box below.
Image Source: StudioParticle.com

About the author

Ryan Gibson

Hey! I'm a 28 year old digital marketing guy residing in Leeds, England. My skill is in search marketing and I have gathered over 6 years experience of working on large multilingual campaigns for a number of FTSE 250 Organisations. After accepting a role with a business based in Singapore I began questioning traditional business practice and employee retention. This blog GenerationY.com was therefore born with focus on Y in the workplace. A millennial child at heart I aim to provide a voice for the 'misunderstood' generation and my goal is simply to change perception and corporate mind set on work/life attitudes; inspiring companies and individuals to seek change.

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