| By Lee Rossini of CompliNews |
The impact of Covid-19 has led to many people rethinking and reimagining their future lives. Besides the need to work, activities that have become increasingly important and the focus of many employees whose lives previously felt out of balance include spending time with loved ones, getting enough exercise, better managing finances, eating healthily, pursuing enjoyable hobbies, and having enough time to properly relax.
Although in some cases, hybrid work has enabled a more balanced life, with more of a focus on these activities, there is still another way to improve the work-life balance: the four-day workweek.
This is a relatively new concept that is gaining popularity, with trials occurring in the US, Spain and the UK in 2022. Therefore, the benefits and the overall impact have not yet all been fully documented, although anecdotally, the potential benefits are thought to be considerable.
Here are some of those benefits:
1. More Focused Work
If an employee is working a forty-hour workweek, it is highly probable that some of these hours will be spent in a way that is not beneficial to the employer. At best, employees may be unfocused some of the time, and miss the mark ever-so-slightly on a particular project; at worst, they may spend part of their time unfocused and unproductive.
Although the four-day work week entails thirty-two hours of work a week, the objective is to increase productivity and the rate of work during those hours. This is made possible by employees being sufficiently rested and relaxed before the start of a new work week, thereby heightening their sense of focus when returning to work.
2. More Time to Relax
A significant benefit of the four-day workweek is the free time that is available to employees. These additional hours can be spent doing activities that improve an employee’s mental health and feelings of rest and relaxation; these activities include spending time with family (and feeling present and unstressed about work when with them), exercising, spending time in nature, finding new hobbies and practicing old ones, being creative, and finding the time to shop and cook interesting, healthy food. In short, this time can be spent performing tasks that stimulate employees and broaden their world. Feeling positive about life has the benefit of creating a positive attitude towards work, and this results in work being performed more effectively.
3. Less Burnout
Finding an appropriate balance between living life and working means that employees are unlikely to become overwhelmed or overburdened by either. This means that they can sustain themselves in a manageable way, and in so doing, be less prone to burnout.
Even though a four-day workweek encourages a better balance between living life and working, it does have some shortcomings. For example, if the quantity of work still means that employees need to work forty hours a week, trying to fit this into thirty-two hours will make employees even more overwhelmed and exhausted than before as this will mean cramming work into ten-hour long days. A short week can also lend itself to a ‘crunch-time’ mentality among employees, and this type of pressure is not easily endured. Finally, if a four-day workweek leaves employees earning less than previously, they may not be earning enough to have a life/work balance, especially if money becomes a stressor.
Therefore, to implement a four-day workweek, it is necessary to strike a balance between what employees have known, the five-day workweek, and what may be in the future. A successful transition to a new working model can only be achieved through consultation and agreement with employees, and clear communication about what is and is not working for both the company and its employees.
*** Sourced from:
The impact of working a 4-day week Investopedia (available online at https://www.investopedia.com/the-impact-of-working-a-4-day-week-5203640#:~:text=Key%20Takeaways,lower%20turn