Over the course of the previous two years, work models have changed in unprecedented ways. Flexible work models, including remote and hybrid work, have taken hold, and a return to traditional modes of employment doesn’t seem to be on the horizon. Amongst these changes, the traditional five-day workweek may be on its way out as well.
Many employees are pushing for a four-day workweek; in fact, according to a survey performed by Qualtrics, a cloud-software vendor, 92% of employees would like a shorter workweek. Likely a number of factors have contributed to this hunger for flexibility and shorter hours. First of all, the change to working from home for countless offices during the pandemic has given many workers a taste of what this has to offer. Plus, the Great Resignation has given many workers the opportunity to pursue new working arrangements, and in order to compete for scarce talent, many employers are offering new shortened schedules and flexible arrangements.
Digital.com performed a survey of 1,300 employers in the U.S. to find how many are considering implementing a four-day workweek. The study found that 27% of employers had already implemented a four-day workweek, and another 35% were considering making such a change. In addition, one California Congressman has proposed federal legislation to make a change to a 32-hour workweek nationwide.
Though such a change could hold significant benefits for employers and their staff, HR would need to ensure that the workplace is ready with the right policies. Learn More
When implemented well, the change could benefit the workplace by meeting employees changing needs for flexibility, helping reach DE&I goals, and offering greater benefits to employees’ wellbeing by giving them the opportunity to work at the times they feel most comfortable. When implemented with a hybrid or remote workplace policy, it can demonstrate a greater degree of trust and help to boost employee engagement and, in turn, reduce turnover.
However, not all workplaces and employees may be ready for such a change. In order to support such change, management must be prepared to set clear expectations on scheduling and response times to ensure smooth workflow and communication. There must also be a greater focus on outcomes rather than the hours worked, and regular communication is a must.
It is important to keep in mind that the change to a four-day workweek should not restrict employees’ flexibility. Instead of restricting the workweek to the same four days for everyone, employers can offer employees the chance to define their own schedules and place a greater emphasis on asynchronous workplace tools that allow collaboration and communication between employees. This can significantly boost employees satisfaction and, in turn, productivity.
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