Does a four-day work week make more sense post-pandemic?
According to a new survey, 83 percent of Americans would prefer a four-day workweek.
The survey of 4,000 full-time workers taken in mid-October from GoodHire found the appeal of four-day weeks fairly equal across generations.
The findings, similar to the results of other recent surveys, follows a study of Iceland’s shift to a four-day work week for the wide majority of its workforce which found productivity remained the same or improved across the majority of trial workplaces. Further, worker wellbeing dramatically increased across a range of indicators, from perceived stress and burnout, to health and work-life balance.
Calls for flexible work schedules, including four-day weeks, have grown louder as the pandemic pushed millions into remote work. Benefits to employees from four-day work weeks include being able to better manage child and elderly care, reduced commuting times and the recharge that comes with a three-day weekend.
Beyond potential productivity gains and cost savings, retention and recruiting are seen as the major business benefit.
An Asian fusion restaurant in Tampa, according to cltampa.com, recently shifted to a four-day week to offset labor shortages and was able to double its kitchen staff and open seven days a week over a three-month period, increasing revenues by 30 percent.
Skeptics see the four-day model creating inequalities because it fails to work for all sectors or roles. Employers may face paying overtime if the work can’t be done with fewer hours, and workers may experience burnout if required to work 10-hour days. When spending less time together, workers may find communication sharing, teamwork and culture building more of a challenge.
Proponents of the four-day work week see artificial intelligence advances continuing to streamline work collaboration. Shortening meetings, altering shift patterns and ditching other unnecessary routine activities such as coffee breaks may be necessary.
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, an organizational strategy consultant and author of “Shorter,” told The New York Times that the four-day work week is “buried under a whole bunch of rubble of outmoded practices and bad meetings. Once you clear that stuff away, then it turns out the four-day week is well within your grasp.”
- The Meaning of Work in 2021 — A Generational Divide – GoodHire
- Is a 4-day workweek the answer to employee burnout? Most American workers say yes – CNBC
- Half of U.S. workers say the pandemic triggered a change in personal priorities, while 83 percent say a four-day work week would alleviate burnout – Eagle Hill Consulting
- Workers are crying out for a four-day week. It’s time for their bosses to pay attention – CNN
- Going Public: Iceland’s Journey to a Shorter Working Week – Autonomy
- Is the Four-Day Workweek Finally Within Our Grasp? – The New York Times
- Amid ‘labor shortage,’ Tampa’s Chop Chop Shop tests four-day, 40-hour work week for staff – CL Tampa Bay
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does the four-day workweek make sense for retail’s corporate or in-store staff? Do you see more benefits than drawbacks to the four-day model for employees and businesses?