Chief People Officer at Envoy Global predicts the industry that will pave the way
If the United States was to ever embrace the four-day workweek, California would lead the charge.
After all, legislation has already been drafted. Assembly Bill 2932 would make the official workweek 32 hours for California 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 temporarily shelved the concept earlier this year, citing too little time left in the current session to weigh a bill that would have applied to hourly employees. Many opposing the bill claim it was a bid to increase the minimum wage, exempt union businesses and add a strain on business operations.
“We're already having a hard time letting some people work remotely, so the four-day workweek is a little bit further out,” Kira Meinzer, chief people officer at Envoy Global, told HRD America Talk.
If the concept ever does gain traction in the U.S., Meinzer predicts it will spawn from the technology industry, which she considers to be the “biggest change enabler” in the economy. “But they're also the companies that have pulled back on the remote work, so this will be interesting,” she said. “I can't say that I don't think it will or won't happen, it'll just be a larger challenge than what we're already facing.”
If HR leaders are considering such a seismic shift, Meinzer suggests starting gradually by experimenting with “Summer Fridays,” in which the office closes early, or “No Meetings Fridays,” which allow employees to get caught up on their work.
“We've moved to ‘No Meetings Fridays’ to give people time to focus and spend less time in front of the camera and on the phone, which has proven to be great for the mental health of our employees,” Meinzer said. “It's so tough because you talk so much about meeting employee needs, but everybody's different. Everybody has unique challenges, so whenever these kind of one-size-fits-all solutions comes up, it never actually seems like it can work. But this has been.”
Meinzer explains the “hardest puzzle to solve” with the four-day workweek in the latest episode of HRD America Talk.