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Another Take on a Revised Workweek – The 4 + 1 Week

May 25, 2022

By Mary E. Corrado, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

In my last blog I wrote about 4-day workweeks. Since then, I learned about another option some organizations are implementing – the 4 + 1 workweek. A week like this reserves one day per week for training and development.

The biggest challenge to offering a 4-day workweek is the chance of a loss in productivity. But many leaders are now suggesting that any loss in productivity is not due to less hours worked, but instead due to the lack of employees many are experiencing right now – specifically employees with certain skills. It’s a skills gap that needs to be closed.

Studies show that employees are very interested in upskilling, specifically when done during work hours. A Gallup-Amazon study showed that 46% of employees indicated interest in skilling outside of work hours while 65% indicated interest doing so during work hours. The same study revealed that 71% of workers who participated in upskilling agree it enhanced their satisfaction with work and two-thirds said it raised their standard of living and quality of life.

This is where the 4 + 1 workweek can come into play. There are various ways employers can implement this. The most obvious would be where the employees work a normal workday four days per week and the 5th day is reserved for training and development. As the employees begin to upskill, productivity would be expected to increase. This method could eventually lead to more typical 4-day workweek.

Other variations of this include entire weeks or months of training or blocks of training time each day, dependent on work demands.

I recently watched a TEDx segment of Mark Dabrowski, Co-Founder & Director of R&D at Teldio, speaking about another version of the 4 + 1 workweek – passion days. It allows employees to take one day a week, a month, or every other week to do something they are passionate about. It could be volunteer work, it could be something else within the company, it could be something outside the company – whatever fulfills a passion for the employee. Dabrowski was feeling unfilled and unproductive in his position and considering resigning to work for a non-profit he was passionate about. Instead of letting a great employee leave, his boss offered him the option to work at the non-profit one day a week and remain in his position working four days per week. The end result was that Dabrowski’s passion was renewed. He become more engaged and productive at work. Watch the TEDx video here.

There is also a short Ted2022 video from Juliet Schor titled: The Case for a 4-day Workweek. I watched that yesterday and found it interesting. You can watch that one here.

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