The Four-day Work Week

To some employees and companies it may seem ridiculous to have a four-day work week but to those who analyse work trends from a century ago will understand that this was bound to happen. In 1890, when industrialization was booming it was estimated that that a full-time employee worked for an average 100 hours a week in a manufacturing plant. The numbers came down to 40 hours a week by the mid-20th century. From this perspective, 28 hour week doesn’t seem that disruptive an idea, isn’t it?

There are two reasons for this demand. Firstly, with the modern technologies there is really no need for employees to spend that much time in the office. In fact, in some of the countries that top the charts in productivity like Norway, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands employees work 27 hours a week. Ironically, Japan, known for its draining work culture is ranks 20th out of 35 countries surveyed for productivity.

Secondly, there is a trend that suggests that companies that are focusing on making their workplaces more human are experiencing happier workers and therefore higher retention.

Some of the advantages in implementing a four day work week include: Reduced costs, happier employees, Fewer health issues, Increase in productivity levels and Recruitment and retention.

The disadvantages are mostly in the implementation of this model. Some employers are turning the four days into 40 hour work weeks. And this model may not suitable for all types of businesses.

But is this radical idea the solution to rapidly changing 21st century workplace? Well, it is yet to be seen. The database of companies implementing this work model is still small. The technological development which is primarily responsible for this has yet not penetrated many industries worldwide. 

Originally posted at Work 2.0