Modern-day employees claim they want a better work/life balance and more flexible work schedules; one such flexible schedule is a 4-day workweek, during which employees work 35 to 40 hours in 4 days instead of the traditional 5.Recently, 66% of workers polled by Robert Half stated that they want a compressed 4-day workweek to fulfill this work/life balance, but only 17% of their employers offered one. Why aren’t employers offering a 4-day workweek, and should they?
You’ll want to consider the following pros and cons in determining whether to offer a 4-day workweek to your employees.
Improves employee productivity. Sometimes, employees hang around at work simply because they have a certain schedule, though they may not necessarily be productive or accomplishing much, which costs organizations money. However, when employees work a compressed schedule, they learn to effectively manage their time and get more done in a shorter time frame.
Increases employee satisfaction. Employees who have compressed schedules are more satisfied with their jobs and employers because they are more capable of achieving work/life balance and, therefore, are less stressed, tired, and preoccupied when they come to work.
Lessens environmental impacts. If employers didn’t have to stay open 5 days a week, they could save on costs related to their buildings’ electricity, occupancy, maintenance, heating and cooling, office supplies, etc.
Employers might lose overtime hours. Most employees are already putting in well over 40 hours a week and want to put in extra hours to remain competitive in their fields. With a compressed workweek, employers might miss out on hours that salaried employees are already currently putting in or hours that they want to put in in the future.
Not all industries can participate. Not all employers would be able to implement a 4-day workweek without hiring more employees, as some industries must be open 24/7 for emergencies or around-the-clock business (i.e., emergency rooms, hotels, etc.).
There are costly risks. Employers might end up having to spend money on a new schedule implementation that doesn’t work and is more expensive, and they won’t know if their employees will be able to handle current workloads in fewer days or if they’ll need to hire additional staff until they actually begin the new 4-day workweek.
The Wild-Card Factor: Customer Satisfaction
In some cases, a compressed workweek could offer a business’s customers extended contact hours 4 days a week, but some customers might not like being able to contact a company only 4 days a week. So, an organization must evaluate its industry and whether it has enough staff to ensure customer-related concerns are always covered to determine whether a 4-day work schedule is the right fit.
In summary, if you’re considering implementing a 4-day workweek, weigh the pros and cons listed above, as well as your organization’s staffing requirements and industry.