How do you feel about four-day work weeks? Have you tried them out? Or do you think it’s a fad? I’ve seen the topic regularly reported lately, so I thought I’d write about it this week. After trying ChatGPT last week, I tackled the issue this week using Copy.ai. As a Fintech founder, I offer my clients a software solution to streamline their work, so I figured I should try out some new technology myself.
Here’s what Copy.ai came up with:
Thanks to advances in technology, smart scheduling, and support from management, some of us are already enjoying a four-day work week (FYI: Google’s calling it “20% time”). That “free” day can translate into more time to pursue your passions. But is a four-day work week something you could work with — or would you rather trade an extra day at the office for a few more hours of sleep?
Industry leaders and more progressive companies have been offering four-day work weeks as a perk, allowing employees to have every first Friday off. Some people consider them a waste of time, others consider it a little bit of extra time out of the week to focus on their core values such as family, friends, or the pursuit of happiness.
Four-day work weeks are a popular topic among millennials, but what about the rest of us? Does the thought of a four-day work week make you feel energized and excited for Friday afternoon, or does it sound like a nightmare that can only lead to lazy employees and bored executives? It is a polarizing topic with opinion pieces from every angle. Some people love the idea. Four years ago my company made the decision to implement four-day work weeks for all non-exempt (hourly) employees. To our surprise it didn’t lead to lazier employees or less productive workers, but instead led to happier employees and better business results. Since then more companies have followed our example. From small businesses like Treehouse, where I work, up to Fortune 500 companies like Best Buy .
Not bad. Probably not exactly what I would have written, but a good starting point and much faster than getting stalled before you even start to write.
Are four-day weeks new? No. But they are getting a lot of press, notably since employees returned to their offices post Covid. This week, an article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper suggested that most companies who trial a shorter work week either extend the trial or adopt the practice as a permanent option. The main benefit was the staff’s self-reported improved work-life balance, no doubt leading to improved wellness in the workplace.
The four-day work week can be viewed as an extension of the option of working from home, but depending on your company, it may not replace it. Advances in technology, such as cloud computing and software as a service, and accessing those on a laptop, tablet or even mobile phone make it even easier for employees to work remotely. That allows employees to work around other obligations, such as school inset days, child and elder care, and medical appointments. It also supports the environment by reducing travel to and from the office.
The bigger question is, does this easily accessible technology mean we are working longer than when we worked full-time in the office? I suspect the four-day week only solves that problem if employees actually down tools and take time off.
Do we have a four-day week policy at Phundex? No, we don’t. However, our team can work whatever times they want, wherever they want, as long as they deliver results on time, whether completing agreed projects, doing client meetings or working on social media campaigns. We also have unlimited vacation and sick day policy. The employment contract stipulates a certain number of vacation days because the law requires it in our jurisdiction. But if someone on the team needs to work remotely or take more time off to look after an elderly parent, stay home with a sick child or deal with a flood, they can. I trust the team to be professional, and they trust that they can take it if they need a day off, without a big song and dance.
Offering solutions like Phundex can help your team have greater flexibility to improve their work-life balance or match how they like to work more closely, especially with a multi-jurisdictional team and projects. However, we must ensure that flexibility doesn’t cause our team to work longer hours and burn out. The four-day work week helps businesses think about improving workplace wellness and work-life balance.
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