4 Day Work Week: Why Are Many Countries Considering A 4 Day Work Week?
by Shahnawaz Alam Job & Career 07 September 2023
In case you are not from a selected few countries in Europe or from UAE, USA, or South Africa, this might seem like the wildest dream.
The COVID-19 pandemic put a detrimental spark behind the thought of a 4 day work week that had been going around for some time.
The pandemic made many employers and workers rethink the possibility of a 4-day work week. Portugal, among other countries, was the first to announce a trial, which was later adopted by the UK, Belgium, and more.
This is a thought that would further enhance the work-life balance for the employees and boost their productivity.
What Is 4 Day Work Week?
The idea of 4 day work week means that the employees have to work only 4 days a week. In return, they will get the same amount paid and enjoy the same employee benefits. However, the employer would not reduce the workload on the employee’s shoulders.
This type of company work culture would eventually lead to more independent work and lessers meetings. The idea has been adopted by many employers in different countries, and once implemented, it can transform employee’s productivity and provide them with more work satisfaction and a better work-life balance.
The trade Unions in the UK have been calling the government to implement the 4-day work week idea. Many other countries were already adopting this idea. But how did it play out for them? Also, how did this idea come to be in the first place? Keep reading to find out.
How Did The 4-Day Work Week Movement Start?
Although the idea was not taken on a positive note initially, the idea of 4 day work week started to gain momentum, and it started in 2022. More than 60 companies in the UK (across diverse industries) gave the 4-day work week a trial.
Most of the companies reduced work hours through different means. Some did –
- a coordinated extra day off.
- staggered day off for employees.
- Also, companies with seasonal demands followed a 32-hour week.
But, on top of that, they are maintaining their pay for the employees.
But was the result fruitful? Yes, it was. Many of the employees found the initiative helpful. The employees had less amount of work stress. They were better at balancing their work and their life. It also helps businesses with talent retention. 57% of attrition was reduced, and the company revenue improved by 1.4%.
Here Is Why You Must Consider A 4 Day Work Week For Your Company
Since you know how the movement started, a 4-day work week has already proved to be beneficial to some organizations. But should you and your workplace consider this type of workweek method?
Here are some reasons why you need to adopt a 4 day work week concept to your workplace –
- This type of workweek can solve lots of talent retention issues.
- Gartner’s poll suggests that 54% of HR managers are of the opinion that this type of workweek can increase talent competition.
- A massive number of 63% of workers have reported that having a 4-day work week with similar benefits and salary can attract them to do their jobs better.
- The frontline workforce that cannot work in a hybrid setup has better flexibility thanks to this setup.
Now, although all of these options seem beneficial, not all industries can apply them and make them favor their objectives. Especially companies dealing with manufacturing or frontend customer service works.
But, if your company is capable of adopting a 4-day workweek plan, then go through the section below.
How To Structure A 4 Day Work Week?
If you are planning to adopt 4 work days plan, then a 32 hours work week is not the ultimate solution. One simple solution cannot solve all problems. There are options that can help achieve results that are more promising in nature. But for that, you need to optimize two decisions – working days and working hours.
You can start by implementing a reduced and condensed work week.
Condensed Work Week
This is a model where the organizations follow the 40-hour work week by making the work day shifts 10 hours. They are working 4 days but following a 10-hour workday schedule. However, there are cons to this plan as well.
The employee does not have the chance to work overtime, and the long work shifts can be tiring for the employees.
Reduced Work Week
The reduced work week module means that there is a 32-hour work week for the employees, and each day, they have to work for 8 hours as usual. However, from the employer’s perspective, this could mean reduced productivity. Fortunately, this risk did not affect the UK-based companies that adopted the 4 days work week method.
The work day off will usually depend on the business’s demand, continuity, and flexibility.
Organizations following this work model can also suspend their entire work operations on fixed universal work day offs aside from the existing off days.
Distribution day offs structure the staggering day offs of the employees to ensure their coverage. This also allows employees to not be absent on days crucial for business operations.
Countries That Have A 4 Day Work Week
Here is a list of countries that allow a 4-day work week –
26 companies from Australia took part in this new workweek model.
OECD reports confirm that Austria has 6th shortest work week on average.
Belgium had a 4-day work week with 10 hours of work a day.
Dozens of Canadian companies also adopted this 4-day workweek model.
OECD reports also confirm that Denmark ranks second for having 33 workweek hours.
Also, some more countries have adopted this workweek model for their different organizations.
- South Africa
- Spain Switzerland
63 % of small and medium-sized companies (100 to 200 staff) have revealed they are ready to accept a shorter work week. Also, 79% of Canadian companies have suggested the possibility of a 5-day work week for their organizations. However, whether or not someone can adopt this work model depends upon the industry their business is under.
I hope that this article was helpful. Please let us know if you have any comments on this article.