The pandemic has definitely changed the way we see the world, and it has also changed the way we work. A lot of people are wondering if maybe it’s time to redefine how the world works. Perhaps it’s time to make every employee’s dream come true by slowly transitioning to a four-day workweek.
According to a Stanford study led by economics professor John Pencavel, working longer hours doesn’t make you more productive. His study found that productivity per hour declines sharply when a person works more than 50 hours a week. After 55 hours, productivity drops so much that putting in any more hours would be pointless.
It’s Time For The Four-Day Work Week
Over the past years more and more companies and governments have become more open to the idea. These companies include Microsoft Japan, Unilever New Zealand, and burger chain Shake Shack, with Microsoft Japan and Shake Shack seeing incredible results.
With that said, read on to find out why your company should consider a four-day workweek.
Benefits of a Four-Day Work Week
It’s great for your health
According to a report from the Health and Safety Executive, 15.4 million working days were lost to work-related stress in 2017/18, compared with 12.5 million the previous year. With that said, changing up your workweek schedule may be exactly what your health needs.
Perpetual Guardian is a New Zealand estate planning advisory firm. In 2018, the firm partnered with academic researchers. Together, they tracked the effects of Perpetual Guardian paying its 240 workers for 40 hours but having them work four days a week.
The findings revealed that the workers were able to spend more time with their families and were less stressed, and this led to a 24% improvement in work-life balance.
Your company will thank you
Some employers might rebuff the idea of a four-day week because it’ll affect productivity. However, this couldn’t further from the truth. After all, these same employers likely rebuffed the idea of their employees working from home – that is until the pandemic proved to them that working from home can actually increase productivity and reduce costs.
A lot of companies would do themselves a favor by implementing a four-day workweek. According to findings from the University of Reading, around 63% of employers in the United Kingdom said that a four-day workweek helped them to attract and retain talent. The same study also found that two-thirds of British businesses noted improvements in staff productivity.
Additionally, when Microsoft Japan tested a four-day week without pay decreases in 2019, they found that it led to a 40% improvement in sales per employee compared with the previous year.
Lastly, a report from progressive think tank Autonomy suggested that a four-day work week could help create up to half a million new jobs and help limit the rise in unemployment in a post-Covid world.
The environment needs it
While the hard lockdown period may have been the reset that Mother Nature needed, everything opening up again seems to have made things much worse. However, by implementing a four-day workweek, we can give Mother Nature the love that she deserves.
A 2012 study from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, argued the following point:
“Countries with shorter work hours tend to have lower ecological footprints, carbon footprints, and carbon dioxide emissions,” the researchers wrote. They estimated that one-less workday could reduce a carbon footprint by more than 30%.
What’s more, much more recent research seems to find the same thing. For instance, the Microsoft Japan trial found that the four-day workweek led to a 23% decline in electricity use and a 59% decline in paper printing.
Additionally, a 2021 study found that if the UK moved to a four-day week by 2025, this would shrink the UK’s emissions by 127 m tonnes (around 20%).
According to the report, which was commissioned by the environmental organization Platform London and the 4 Day Week Campaign, a four-day workweek reduces energy use in the workplace, cuts down transport emissions, and, by giving people an extra day, also increases the amount of “low-carbon” activities such as exercise and enjoying time with family and friends.
“We already know that the four-day week is good for workers’ mental health and wellbeing, but this report proves that it can be a great move for the environment too.” said Joe Ryle, a campaigner with the 4-Day Week Campaign, “The environmental movement must get behind the calls for a shorter working week as it could make a real difference in the race to limit the worst effects of climate change.”
Are we having Fridays off?
That all depends on your employer and how they view their staff’s work schedule. After all, a four-day week is not the same as a packed schedule. There’s no point in having a four-day workweek if you’re going to jam all the week’s work into four days. The purpose of the four-day workweek is to help you, the company, and the environment. It’s not to see which employees can collapse first because of burnout.
Is your company is interested in implementing the four-day workweek? If so, then they need to find the best schedule that works for them and their employees.
Want to know more?
Modern lifestyle can leave us feeling weak and drained almost all the time. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to regain your mental clarity and focus. In fact, here are 5 tips on how you can use your mental energy for a more productive workday.