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Four-Day Workweeks – A Way to Stand Out in a Highly Competitive Market for Talent?

October 20, 2021

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

It’s been termed “The Great Resignation.” Employees are leaving, and talent is harder than ever to find. It’s more important than ever to find new and innovative ways to be a competitive employer.

I recently read an article on Forbes.com about four-day workweeks, and my first thought was that it could definitely attract new talent since not very many organizations offer that.  A study conducted by SimpleTexting found that 80% of Americans say the pandemic has increased their desire for a four-day workweek, and 98% believe it would improve their mental health.  But is it doable?

According to SHRM, as of 2019 23% of organizations implemented a four-day workweek and 60% of organizations that utilize a four-day workweek experienced higher productivity and increased employee satisfaction.

4 Day Week Global reports that 63% of businesses found it easier to attract and retain talent with a four-day workweek.

There have been several experiments with four-day workweeks:

Microsoft Japan

Microsoft Japan implemented a three-day weekend approach to the four-day workweek. As a result, they saw:

  • 40% increase in productivity
  • Electricity costs fell by 23%
  • Reduced office supply usage
  • Slower depreciation of office printers
  • Reduced janitorial costs

Ice Group

The Ice Group reduced their 39-hour working week to a 36-hour working week, with no reduction in pay. Staff can choose to work Monday – Thursday or Tuesday – Friday resulting in a three-day weekend.  At the end of their three-month trial, they saw:

  • 27% increase in productivity
  •  A reduction in single-day absenteeism to almost zero
  • 33% increase in wellness scores
  • Reduced unplanned attrition

CreativeX

CreativeX found that during lockdown their team was highly productive, but the boundaries between work and personal time became increasingly blurred. Larger, more strategic projects began to move to the backburner. In response, they created “Elevate Fridays.”  The term is in reference to their company value statement, “Elevate yourself and each other.” They launched a 12-week trial last March and extended it through August. Elevate Fridays have two rules: 1) No day-to-day work such as email or meetings and 2) Be intentional about how you spend your time.  The results were:

  • 30% improvements in work/life balance, wellbeing, productivity, and job fulfilment
  • Employees were 50% more likely to feel productive on week 12 than week one
  • Employees struggled 54% less with work/life balance compared to week one
  • 18% of their employees said they are more likely to say they are happy with their performance and their motivations to tackle problems that arise as part of their jobs

Those are just three examples from many case studies you can find at 4 Day Week Global’s website, www.4dayweek.com. I highly suggest visiting the site if you are considering trying out a four-day workweek.

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