There has been a lot of chatter about a 4-day workweek. It continues to gain traction as a way to combat employee burnout. It can also help companies offer greater work-life balance and flexibility to candidates and existing employees. But there is still some resistance from many employers to move away from a traditional 5-day work week.
Why the resistance? There isn’t a specific reason why the 5-day work week should not change other than it is what we are accustomed to using.
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Why do we work 5 days a week?
The 5-day workweek is based on studies. It was actually started in 1926 by Henry Ford. He made the decision to shut down his auto factories for two days per week (Saturday and Sunday). This was the precursor to the 5-day work week we use today. The 40-hour workweek was then established nationally in the United States in 1940.
Will shifting to a 4-day work week actually be beneficial?
The 4-day workweek is a workplace scheduling model. There is increasing evidence that it can be beneficial for employers and employees. In the UK, they are currently undertaking a 4-day work week trial. According to the pilot website,
“This pilot is a coordinated, 6-month trial in the UK of a four-day working week, with no loss in pay for employees. It runs alongside similar pilot schemes taking place in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.”
Other countries have run similar studies. The results are promising. According to a summary of these studies by Rachel Thompson on Mashable:
“In 2021, Iceland published results from its years-long trial of a shorter workweek. From 2015 to 2019, the country ran the world’s largest trial of a shorter working week and — yep, you guessed it — the results showed that participants ended up happier, healthier, and more productive.”
Microsoft Japan Trial
“In 2019, Microsoft Japan trialled a four-day week and found it boosted productivity by nearly 40 percent.”
With many companies and countries exploring the possibility of a 4-day work week, it is becoming more of a possibility. There are benefits to this approach and many workers are in support of this work model.
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