Many moons ago, I remember being given the option of a 4-day workweek. I went from 8-hour workdays to 10-hour workdays and picked Wednesday as my third day off, while others chose Friday to extend their weekends. It was GREAT! Not everyone took the option because not everyone wanted or were able to do 10-hour workdays. I can say, I was able to get things done on a weekday, broke up the workweek, Friday didn’t feel like “FRIDAY” and guess what, there’s data proving this to be a very productive strategy for staff.
This little company named Microsoft recently did a trial of this strategy and found a 40% boost in productivity! Now if Microsoft tried this, they did plenty of research before trying it. From my experience, I can tell you I was happier and more willing to work harder on my 10-hour days and I’m not alone. Another company in New Zealand, Perpetual Guardian, also found the 4 day workweek provided a better work-life balance for their employees.
Now this isn’t for everyone, employees or employers but it is definitely something to consider if you as an employer already see inefficiencies in your business. In considering whether or not this is for you, you may want to look at how other companies have made this happen for themselves or even ask your fellow business owners if they have ever tried it. The state of Utah found it reduced its energy costs by taking one day away, employees were able to save money and time on their commutes, and employees printed 60 pages less of material on average.
What are the cons to this strategy? The wrong approach can cause customer dissatisfaction if you are completely close for an extra day off. In my case, we continued to operate Monday through Friday, the company just staggered the extra day off among staff to make sure we did not decrease business hours. Employee dissatisfaction may also come from decreased paid hours and being expected to produce the same amount of work within the compressed hours. These are all things to consider and you as the employer will be the best to see the possible pitfalls for your specific business.
In these “Corona Times of Our Lives,” it may be an opportune time to test different productivity strategies so when we come out of this you are running on all cylinders and jump out in front of your competition. After all, this is not going to last forever….