Chief people officer on 'hardest puzzle to solve' with four-day workweek

Envoy Global's HR leader admits seismic shift has come up in conversation, but one thing is holding the company back

Chief people officer on 'hardest puzzle to solve' with four-day workweek

While companies across the United Kingdom wrap up their six-month-long four-day workweek pilot program, companies in the United States are considering following suit in an effort to grant employees more work-life balance.

Envoy Global, an immigration services provider based in Chicago, has toyed with the idea, but there’s a hurdle the company just can’t seem to overcome, according to Kira Meinzer, chief people officer at Envoy.

“The hardest puzzle to solve with the four-day workweek is what do you do with those three days that you aren't working that your clients are expecting an answer,” Meinzer told HRD America Talk.

“How do you tell clients your employees aren’t going to provide them an answer, but you know your competitor will? The theory is that your employees are more engaged and therefore providing better customer service. But that’s only for customer service roles – what about on the backend? Engineers still have code to complete or fix when it breaks.”

Many HR leaders on the fence about a reduced workweek are grappling with the same issue as Meinzer. After all, customers have grown to expect service around the clock, 24/7, 365. This on-demand economy isn’t built for rest breaks or days off unless companies are sufficiently staffed to always have somebody available to meet customers’ needs.

“Frankly, it's not going to work for every role within a business when you have a large retail company,” Meinzer said. “That's not always possible to close, right? If you’re going to give employees three days off a week, you’d have to stagger shifts. It’s probably hardest to achieve in the manufacturing industry because you're not going to shut a plant down for three days. If the four-day workweek continues to gain momentum, we’re going to see it a lot more in the white-collar world than anywhere else.”

Meinzer isn’t totally against the controversial practice – she shares some benefits to the four-day workweek in the latest episode of HRD America Talk.

Recent articles & video

Can an employer stop medical treatment authorized for a worker's injury?

Man accuses Costco of failing to protect him from fistfight with neighbour

U.S. job openings drop in October

Embracing the new era of HR

Most Read Articles

Amazon DEI program manager on increasing mental health benefits

Safeguard Global chief people officer on effectively leading a hybrid workforce

California law ensures health insurance subsidies for workers during labor disputes