Leaders catching on to four-day work weeks

Advocates insist the system can reduce absenteeism and improve engagement – without damaging productivity. But is it really possible?

Leaders catching on to four-day work weeks
For an increasing amount of companies, four-day work weeks have become standard practice – particularly during the summer months – but is a compressed schedule something you should consider? These advocates think so.

Quality over quantity

“Better work gets done in four days than in five,” says Basecamp CEO Jason Fried. “When there’s less time to work, you waste less time.”

The software company shifts to a 32-hour work week from May through to October – giving employees the chance to spend long weekends with their families without taking time off.

Fried told the New York Times that the system helps employees make the most of their time – both in the office and at home.

“When you have a compressed workweek, you tend to focus on what’s important,” he said. “Constraining time encourages quality time.”

Absenteeism and engagement

When the City of Utah moved to a four-day work week, absenteeism dropped by 9 per cent – bosses were sure it was because employees no longer needed to use work time for errands and appointments.

Recruitment and retention

Crystal Dunlop is the HRD of accounting firm RLB – she says adopting a flex-time policy was essential if her organization wanted to stay head, in terms of talent.

“We realised that we had to move away from a traditional approach if we wanted to attract and retain top talent,” she told HRM.

“When you look at benefits or work arrangements, you can’t have a one size fits all approach,” she explained.

The key to a successful flexible policy, says Dunlop, is communication – especially with employees who lean towards traditional working structures.

“We talk a lot about working smarter not harder,” she said. “A lot of communication was needed, especially with our partners. They’d come in 6am and stay until midnight so we talked about gaining the skills and abilities to be able to do not putting in the time.”

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