Episode #29: Say is 4 is Greater Than 5
a new model emerges as we return to the office...
In last week’s issue, while discussing the hybrid “3+2” model explored by some companies aiming to get workers back to the office, I asked what other future of work models are out there in corporate America.
One popular model emerging for the future of work is the 4-Day Work Week.
The name is fairly self-explanatory—workers show up for four days of work instead of five (how European!). Results from a study on the 4-Day Work Week as implemented in the case of a US company may surprise you. As reported from Business Insider, here’s what one manager found after making the 4-Day switch:
“[…] Workers are "dramatically happier," revenue has increased, and customer satisfaction scores are "outstanding."
Dramatically happier workers? Increased revenue and customer satisfaction? What else would you want from a new system?
While there are likely other confounding factors at play, the confidence in the model suggest that if you face struggles returning-to-the-office and 3+2 isn’t an option (or even if it is an option) you might want to consider starting, or keeping, a four-day workweek. It may be the “dramatically” happier option!
One reason the four-day system seems to increase productivity and decrease burnout is due to the fact that people prefer to have downtime as whole days versus as smaller portions.
In terms of productive conflict, managers might look at the very real leadership problems they face, problems like decreased retention, productivity, and/or low moral, as products of worker burnout rather than worker resistance. Implementing a four-day workweek responds productively to the greatest variable in the equation: time.
The pandemic shook us all, and we need more time to get our lives back in order and catch our breaths. A four day workweek may be the healthier, happier, and longer-lasting way to get back to order and get back to work.
If you find yourself constantly troubleshooting people issues on the micro level, perhaps its time you zoom out and take a macro perspective.
Are you filling holes in a sinking ship? If so, maybe it’s time to let the ship stay in port an extra day for a full refit.