Is the 4 day work week going to be the new norm for workplaces? For decades, the 5 day work week has been the go-to. Despite all the changes that have occurred within the workplace over the last 50 years, this weekly structure has persisted. Most recent information shows that we may have to change it up.
Did you know?
Technological advancements have made humans more productive than ever and businesses want to see those numbers continue to rise. As a result, employee burnout is increasing.
A recent study showing 52% of workers having felt burned out in 2020/2021, up 7% from pre-covid. With many people being made to work from home, 65% in a study reported that their business hours increased.
Employers were expecting employees to be available outside of their regular work hours due to being confined to their home. But the statistics get worse: 34% of people struggle to fall asleep due to work related stress; 50%+ are skipping their lunch break due to workload; 66% of workers do not strongly agree that they have good work-life balance; 27% of workers report feeling depressed because of their work. The list of statistics goes on. These numbers are only rising and are clearly unsustainable for a growing workforce.
The 4 day Work Week
Many employers worry that the 4 day workweek will lower productivity and be bad for business. Studies have proven otherwise. Overworked employees are statistically less productive than employees who work an average work week. Many of the most productive countries (such as Norway, Germany, Denmark and Netherlands) on average only work 27 hours a week. On the other hand, Japan, a country notoriously known for overworking employees, ranks 20th out of 35 countries for productivity.
Perpetual Guardian, a large New Zealand business, trialled a 4 day work week and the results were interesting. Not only did productivity increase by 20%, but also employees reported a 24% increase in work-life balance scores. More time off boost feelings of happiness and fulfilment in their own lives. This means more time to spend with loved one, more time for hobbies and even just catching up on life. Happier the employees, the more focused and stress-free they’ll be, which will result in higher productivity.
Some industries may have a harder time than others adapting to this new 4 day work week structure, but it’s at least something to consider. The workplace is changing, something that was apparent when we all suddenly started working from home due to the pandemic. Businesses need to be open to change and questioning ingrained structures that exist within the workplace. Only adaptable businesses that are willing to look out for their employees with thrive in a time of rapid and constant change. Businesses will need to be flexible in order to be competitive as employers. In the end it comes down to this: happier workers do better work. It’s not about hours, it’s not about KPIs. It’s about caring.
Have a magical week!