With the rise of the pandemic, companies have had to adapt to work-life balances with their employees working completely remote. For many, the pandemic harmed the mental health of Americans. Companies had a responsibility to make their employees feel seen and heard. Before the pandemic, a few companies transitioned from the five-day 40-hour week to a four-day, 35-hour workweek. You’re probably thinking, how can companies cut out a day during the week, and what does that mean for both employees and companies?
The pandemic was a push for companies to re-engineer work-life balances. For many, it was and still is a struggle to work where you live. People had to learn to cope with this change by creating mental breaks for themselves, and some created a fake commute. Another issue with working where you live is knowing when to log off.
When everyone was in lockdown, there was no excuse for people not to complete assignments on time or work later. The reality of it was, where else did they have to be? For parents especially, there was a lot of strain on balancing the two, and the four-day workweek is a solution to these issues.
As humans, our bodies have not evolved to look at a screen for 40 hours a week. That equates to 10,400 a year and 416,000 hours within your professional life. The stressors of technology and work on our bodies are apparent. Companies around the world recognize this, and they want to keep their employees happy and passionate.
The companies that transitioned from a 2-day weekend to a. 3-day weekend, like Microsoft Japan and Hamptons Group, LLC, saw a rise in productivity levels of 40%. Not only are employees more satisfied, but companies save money. If you take away a day, companies will save in overhead and other costs like sick days, electricity bills, office supplies, and the cost of lunches.
The reality of implanting a four-day workweek is where challenges arise. If you take a day away, that means that the other workdays will be longer. Instead of working 8 hours at your typical 9 am-5 pm, the days will increase to 10-hour work-days from 8 am-6 pm. Some would prefer to work longer days to have an extra day added to the weekend, while others prefer shorter workdays.
Another approach to the four-day work weeks is summer Fridays and half-day Fridays. For companies that want their employees to appreciate the summer, they will implement summer Fridays. Summer Fridays are where employees have half days or full days off on Fridays from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. Other companies offer half-day Fridays that employees can accumulate over time. Every Friday, employees are given the option of taking a half-day. For those that choose to work the full day, they can hold onto the half-day. That half-day can be transferred to the next half-day and take off an entire day.
Every company is different; some prefer the four-day work week, while others prefer to stay with the traditional route. As companies continue to stay remote out of the pandemic, more companies will make the transition. On your next job search, pay attention to the company culture and look out for the four-day workweek.