Should Your Company Consider a 4-day Workweek?
Around the globe, major companies such as Panasonic and Unilever, as well as startups such as fintech company Bolt, and others have switched to a four-day workweek. Governments such as Scotland, Spain, and Iceland have also piloted trial runs for less than 40 hour work weeks. Even here in the US, Congressman Mark Takano has introduced legislation that would reduce the workweek from 40 hours to 32. These efforts are done in the name of reducing employee burnout, improving communities, Increasing productivity at work, and reducing environmental impact.
In Japan, the multinational conglomerate Panasonic is offering employees the option of taking a four-day workweek, “freeing them up to take side jobs, volunteer or just relax” The country’s annual economic policy guidelines are even encouraging employers to adopt similar workweeks. CEO Kusumi Yiki said, “We must support the wellbeing of our employees.” According to a 2021 Harvard Business Review global survey, 89% of respondents said that work-life was getting worse, 85% reported lower levels of well-being and 62% said they had experienced burnout during the pandemic. Microsoft Japan piloted a four-day workweek in 2019 under the “Work-Life Choice Challenge” and boosted company productivity by 40%. Employees also asked for fewer days off and company costs were reduced as well.
Thousands of other companies around the world have adopted shortened work weeks, in addition to the productivity boost in a reduction in costs, it also affords employees time to work on new skills they can apply at work. Additionally, studies have shown that more free time for employees afforded them time to volunteer with faith-based organizations to help improve their community whether it’s volunteering at food banks or even simply supporting local businesses.
Reducing the workweek also reduces our carbon footprint as people would need to drive less often. Introducing the third day off to the workweek would result in a reduction of 45 million metric tons of carbon emissions.
Companies who shorten their workweek see the benefits in real-time. Employees are more engaged, request fewer days off, and experience less burnout. These employees have time for meaningful experiences outside of the workplace and better utilize their time when they’re working. Businesses see improvements in productivity and reductions in costs as a direct result of the shortened workweek as well. Ultimately, with fewer cars on the roads throughout the week, there are also fewer carbon emissions damaging the environment.
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