Only working four days a week – a dream of many. But can it work without a loss of earnings? Yes it can. The four day week implies spreading a typical five day job over four days; so for a 40 hour week, this would equate to working 10 hours a day. On which days the work is completed usually doesn’t matter; all that matters is that you are coherent and connected. The compressed working week brings a concentrated block of working hours, followed by a lengthy weekend in most cases. The rewards of a four day week are most commonly felt by adventurous travellers, employees with younger children and during training or education.
The benefits of the four day week at a glimpse
Every weekend is a long weekend!
The four day week doesn’t alter the amount of hours worked, but it does alter the perception of given leisure time: a whole day more, which belongs entirely to you, for your ideas and your projects. The additional effort that is required on the four working days seems minimal in comparison, allowing you to use your long weekend for a quick getaway.
To and fro
Score one for the environment: the four day working week doesn’t just provide you with one less day to work, but also one less day to commute to and from the workplace. This has implications on the quality of life for individuals, as well as the environment. When the four day working week was introduced for all public authorities in the state of Utah in 2008, workers saved a total of $6 million in fuel costs. The effort also helped to reduce their greenhouse gas output by 12,000 tons.
Less presence, more productivity
You know the feeling. Fridays in the office, waiting for the weekend to come around. The lazy Friday doesn’t happen in all companies, but the concept is well known: we work better when we can remain concentrated on one task or one activity. When we are in “the zone”, we never notice how the time flies by. We can only reach such a state if were are a) occupied with a task and b) not constantly looking at the clock for the weekend to arrive. In contrast, the four day week helps us to focus into “the zone”, with up to 60% of respondents feeling that their work has become more productive.
Avoiding the part-time trap
Less work normally means less money. People who reduce their hours, especially women, notice that the way back to full-time work isn’t without its challenges. Above all, you remain full-time with the four day week, with full-time appreciation and a full-time salary. Although you are one day less per week in the office, you are reliably there for longer on the other four days than colleagues with a classic five-day week.
What should I consider?
If you would like to change to a four day week, you should consider carefully whether it is suitable for your lifestyle. A normal working day in a full-time job can place an employee under very high levels of stress, making those normal days of 10 hours easily turn into 11 or 12 with overtime. Anyone with small children should ensure that their working pattern will coincide with day care opening hours or the hours of their carer. For those who are flexible, the four day week is a good chance to have more time to themselves and to spend more time with their loved ones.
Tips for implementing in the business
The four day week can lead to higher employee satisfaction and a better work-life balance. Apart from salary alterations, the four day week is an interesting tool to increase motivation and loyalty. For different working schedules to emerge and develop fairly within an organisation, two things are particularly important: transparent workforce planning and good employee time keeping, in which such models can be recorded. Both workforce tools can be found within TimeTac; the all-rounder for recording working time that flexibly adapts to your needs: it can be tested for 30 days, completely free!