Four-day workweek pros and cons

Sid Upadhyay, CEO and co-founder of WizeHire, prepares HR leaders for what could become California’s future

Assembly Bill 2932 would make the official workweek 32 hours for companies with 500 employees or more, giving higher raises and time-and-a-half pay to any worker who surpasses that cutoff. The state’s legislature has temporarily shelved the concept, citing too little time left in the current session to weigh a bill that would have applied to hourly employees. In addition to lawmakers, companies across the United States need more time to consider such a seismic shift in how work gets done.

In this interview with HRD TV, Sid Upadhyay, CEO and co-founder of WizeHire, lists the benefits and challenges awaiting HR leaders as they transition to a four-day workweek.

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John: [00:00:15] Welcome to HRDTV. I'm John Corringan with HRD America. And today, I'm joined by Sid Upadhyay, CEO and co-founder of Online Recruiting System WizeHire. We are going to be discussing the controversial trend of the four day work week. Sid, thanks for joining me. How are you.

Sid: [00:00:32] Doing well, John, thanks for having me. Really appreciate it.

John: [00:00:35] Well, I appreciate you taking the time and let's get right into it. Sid What do you consider to be the pros of a four day work week?

Sid: [00:00:44] I first off I'll say we're having this conversation following recent weeks of news with California and legislatures weighing on, weighing in on the topic. I think it's bringing towards the forefront, I think, some great conversations. You know, this is something job seekers are seeking. They're very excited about it. Companies that have tested it out, I think reports something on the order of 60% improvement or increased ability to retain and attract top talent. I think the toughest part of this whole conversation, which I'm sure we'll get into, is really how do we make it more feasible? How do we make it more approachable for not just the largest companies, but all companies out there? Definitely. It's something we're seeing that, again, job seekers are excited about and those that are really, really still on the sidelines in this post-pandemic economy that are yearning for flexibility. This is a great way potentially for them to get back into the into the door.

John: [00:01:34] Absolutely. And, you know, every company is looking to get them back in the door. Right now, it's so tough in this job market. Now, you mentioned that job seekers really love this idea of the four day workweek, but we know some companies not so much. What do you consider to be the cons of a four day work week?

Sid: [00:01:50] Yeah, I think ultimately the largest challenge about this for the business especially is just the PNL, right? How can we make it work with our existing cost base, existing cost structures for various industries? Yes. We're going to have obviously the you know, the darling tech companies that are going to try this out where they have much more flexibility. But I think the company that I'm watching here, John, that really can help us maybe understand this trend is Shake Shack, right? That is that is a business that is operating in a very competitive, non tech focused world. They've got margin concerns. They've got to figure it out, yet they're trying it out. And I think that's the place where we'll see. Wait, is this something that is feasible? Because, of course, the real challenge here is not just increased costs, because you've got to find someone else to cover that shift in the way that I believe that the California law was drafted. For those that do work beyond the 32 hours, there would be a much larger overtime cost as well. So really at the end of the day, you can the ability to attract better talent, more talent offset the need for more talent to fill up that again, one fourth of the shift that needs to get done, especially for very customer success focused companies.

John: [00:02:57] You mentioned this California legislation. It came into play earlier this year, but it missed the legislative session and will be put on the back burner until the next one. But let's let's go hypothetical here. If this California legislation passes, what advice do you have for HR leaders in terms of how to fully implement a successful, effective four day workweek for their employees?

Sid: [00:03:20] Great question, John. First off, say, you know, bills like this are tested, floated so we can have these conversations, we can plan ahead. There are organizations that are already testing out pilot programs to make this work. And I think that's where we're going to get the best insights for how to if and when the future comes about over a four day workweek, where possible, we can learn from them. A couple of things that I think we're definitely seeing HR leaders think about and that we're trying ourselves one take stock of actually the needs of workers specifically that that have much more customer facing needs. Right. That's going to be the hardest place where, you know, your customer is still going to expect you to have someone there at that ten hour, eight hour or whatever. The case shift management, I think, gets harder. But again, the boon of potentially being able to attract talent that's seeking that shift, that might offset quite a bit. Now, there's also a whole set of implications for what happens for additional benefits, whether it's insurance or fringe benefits or whatever the case, if the classification of workers, as I think it was specified in California, Bill, would be reduced to 32 hours versus 40 hours for full time. So I think we have to wait and see. We have to like lean on a lot of guidance. But I think this is the time for us to have the dialogue internally. What does it look like if this is the future regime we have to work under? How would our team adapt to it? I think having proactive conversations just allows us to be much more effective as as business leaders and partners with those on our teams.

John: [00:04:46] Absolutely. And like you said, we'll take a wait and see approach. HRD America will obviously be covering this, not just how it affects California, but as this affects the rest of the United States. Sid, I appreciate you sharing your insight and thank you for joining me today.

Sid: [00:05:01] Thanks again for having me. Really appreciate it, John. Good luck.

John: [00:05:04] And thank you, everyone for watching. Another episode of HRD TV.