Four-day workweek

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Four-day week)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A four-day workweek is an arrangement where a workplace or place of education has its employees or students work or attend school, college or university over the course of four days per week rather than the more customary five.[1] This arrangement can be a part of flexible working hours, and is sometimes used to cut costs.

The four-day week movement has grown considerably in recent years, with increasing numbers of businesses and organisations around the world trialling and moving permanently to a four-day working week of around 32 hours, with no less pay for workers. Most of these businesses and organisations have found that a four-day week is a win-win for employees and employers, as trials have indicated that it leads to a better work-life balance, slower stress-levels, and increased productivity.[2] However, while one of such trials of a 4.5 day workweek did also report increased productivity, it directly contradicted evidence of lower stress levels by reporting increased stress levels for employees.[3]

Background[edit]

The five-day workweek is a cultural norm; the result of early 1900s union advocacy to reduce the six-day workweek, which led to the invention of the weekend. In the early 20th century, when the average work week in developed nations was reduced from around 60 to 40 hours, it was expected that further decreases would occur over time. In 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes estimated that technological change and productivity improvements would make a 15-hour work week possible within a couple of generations.[4] Other notable people throughout history to predict continuing reductions in working hours include United States (US) Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, British philosopher John Stuart Mill, and playwright George Bernard Shaw. In 1956, then US Vice President Richard Nixon promised Americans they would only have to work four days “in the not too distant future”.[5]

Variations[edit]

Most advocates for a four-day working week argue for a fixed work schedule, resulting in shorter weeks (e.g. four 8-hour workdays for a total of 32 hours).[6] This follows the 100-80-100 model: 100% pay for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment to maintain at least 100% productivity. However, some companies have introduced a four-day week based on a compressed work schedule:[6] in the so-called “4/10 work week,” the widely-used 40 weekly work hours are distributed across four days instead of five, resulting in 10 hour-long workdays (hence “four-ten”).[7]

The resulting schedule may look different depending on the way the four-day week is implemented: in some variants Friday becomes the permanent non-working day, giving employees three consecutive days off over the weekend; some workplaces split the day off among the staff, with half taking Monday off and the other half taking Friday off; sometimes the day off is added in the middle of the week such as a Wednesday, allowing for a mid-week break; and, in some cases the day off changes from week to week, depending on the company’s current goals and workload.

Although it’s not an actual implementation of the four-day week, some companies encourage their employees to spend a portion of the paid time on work-related experiments or personal projects. Google’s “80/20 formula”—referring to the percentage of time spent on core and side projects, respectively—is an example of such policy.[8][9]

Rationale[edit]

The push towards implementing the four-day week has remained loosely relevant within the contemporary workplace due to the various possible benefits it may yield. Although mostly untested, these benefits mainly lie within increased cost-cutting, productivity, and work-life balance. The theory behind this is, employees or students who work or attend school one less day a week will have additional time to pursue hobbies, spend time with family, get more sleep, and increase overall morale.

Consequently, these employees or students will be more productive and refreshed for working or learning, which will make up for the lost day where they would otherwise be overworked and/or overtired. In addition, by having the workplace or school open one less day a week, the operating costs and environmental costs will decrease for businesses and society alike.[citation needed]

Where four-day weeks have been instituted so far, workers gain a better work-life balance that enables them to live happier and more fulfilled lives, and employers are able to recruit and retain high-quality and well-rested workers who deliver greater productivity and creativity.

More broadly, a four-day week provides opportunities to rebalance employment, decreasing the number of people who are overworked and the number who are unemployed or underemployed. It allows for greater gender equality through a more equal share of paid and unpaid work, too, including the caring roles that disproportionately fall on women, and better health and wellbeing for workers and their loved ones.

On top of that, evidence shows that cutting working hours isn’t only good for people: it’s good for the planet. It lowers energy use, meaning less pollution and an opportunity for us to live more sustainably and tackle the climate crisis.

An increase in remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in the desire for flexible work arrangements.[10]

Active trials[edit]

In 2022, not-for-profit advocacy group 4 Day Week Global launched a series of six-month trials for companies in:

  • Ireland (17 companies, February to August);
  • the US and Canada (38 companies, April to October);
  • the United Kingdom (UK) (70 companies with more than 3,300 employees, June to December); and
  • Australia and New Zealand (20 companies, August to February 2023).[11]

Employees of participating companies will work one less day a week with no reduction in pay. The UK pilot is the world's largest trial of a four-day week to date.[12]

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, several governments have proposed and launched four-day working week trials:

  • Scotland announced it is putting £10 million towards a trial, as part of its promise to pursue a wellbeing economy.
  • Spain announced a voluntary, nationwide, three-year trial of a 32-hour workweek.
  • The Japanese government's 2021 annual economic policy guidelines recommended that companies allow their workers to opt for a four day work week, as part of an initiative aimed at improving work-life balance in the country.[13]
  • Belgium allowed employees the ability to request a four-day work week through the compression of their 38-hour week.[14]

Prime Ministers Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and Sanna Marin of Finland have each proposed a four-day workweek as a consideration.[15][16]

Major trial results[edit]

Iceland

Two trials in Iceland between 2015 and 2019 in which working hours were reduced to 35 hours a week without pay reduction for 2,500 workers resulted in "dramatically increased" well-being, no decline of productivity or service, and improved work-life balance and stress ratings from employees, according to UK think tank Autonomy and the Icelandic Association for Sustainable Democracy.[17] While framed as a "four-day week", the trial was for reduced working hours, not necessarily compressed within four days. The vast majority of the workplaces removed up to three hours from the week, not eight, as would be needed in a four-day week. Agreements to reduce work hours following the trial have led to a reduction of an hour or less.[18]

Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand[edit]

In New Zealand, trust company Perpetual Guardian announced in February 2018 that it would begin trialing a four-day work week in March 2018.[19] The six-week trial, initiated by founder Andrew Barnes, saw the company's 240-plus staff nominating a day off each week whilst still receiving full pay.[20] The trial, held in March and April 2018, attracted international media attention.[21][22][23][24][25] In late March 2018, Barnes noted that the trial was going well with staff reporting more time for their families, hobbies, completing their to-do lists and doing home maintenance.[26][27][28][29]

The trial, which was tracked and assessed by the University of Auckland Business School and Auckland University of Technology,[30][31][32] was described as a success[33] and "a total win-win".[34][35] Perpetual Guardian then extended the four-day work week scheme permanently.[36][37] The trial saw increased productivity,[38] customer engagement levels,[39] and staff engagement;[40] reduced staff stress levels;[41] and improved work–life balance.[42][43][44] The company's revenue remained stable while costs went down, due to less power being used throughout the period.

The trial sparked publicity both in New Zealand[30][45][46][47] and internationally.[48][49][50][51][52][53] New Zealand workplace relations minister Iain Lees-Galloway said the trial was "fascinating".[54]

The initiative was held up by Barnes as a way of helping to close the gender pay gap and increase diversity in the workforce.[55][56] Barnes also held the scheme up as a potential blueprint for the workplace of the future, ensuring companies were attractive to millennials[57] and easing Auckland's traffic congestion.[58]

However, while four-day work weeks were deemed a success for most, not everyone involved within the Perpetual Guardian trial was able to adapt, with some reporting feeling increased pressure to complete work within a shorter time frame, particularly around deadlines.[59]

Microsoft Japan[edit]

Microsoft Japan conducted a trial four-day work week in summer 2019, granting workers paid leave on Fridays. At the same time it cut the length of most meetings from a full hour to half an hour, and capped attendance at five employees. For the duration of the trial, the company reported a 23% reduction in electricity costs.[60] Sales per employee increased 40% during the last year's same period.[61]

United Kingdom employers[edit]

As at July 2022, more than 80 UK companies and organisations are recognised as having permanently implemented a four-day working week of fewer than 35 hours, with most doing fewer than 32 hours.[62] These include: the consultancy Think Productive, which has been doing a four-day week since 2011;[63] Plymouth-based Portcullis Legals, which has highlighted improvement with productivity and stress levels among staff, whilst providing higher levels of satisfaction amongst its clients;[64] Cornwall-based accountancy firm Whyfield; Bristol and Devon-based Barefoot Architects;[65] gaming studio Big Potato Games;[66] Leeds-based recruitment agency Charlton Morris;[67] Suffolk-based manufacturing company CMG Technologies, which has been doing a four-day week since 2015;[68] Dorset-based Gungho Marketing; Southampton-based engineering firm Highfield Professional Solutions; and, Edinburgh-based Vault City Brewing.[69]

Utah state government[edit]

In 2008, employees of the Utah state government all began working ten-hour days from Monday to Thursday.[1][70] By closing state government offices on Fridays, the state expected to save on operating costs such as electricity, heat, air conditioning, and gasoline for state-owned vehicles.[70] Utah ended this practice however, in 2011, with the Utah Legislature overriding Governor Gary Herbert's veto of five-day work week legislation.[71] Many local governments have had alternative schedules for many years.[72][73][74]

K-12 public schools in the United States[edit]

Public schools in Hawaii closed on 17 Fridays in 2010.[75][why?] Over 100 school districts in rural areas in the United States have changed the school week to a four-day week;[when?] most also extended each school day by an hour or more.[76][77] The changes were often made in order to save money on transportation, heating, and substitute teachers.[76]

According to a 2021 study, which examined four-day school weeks in Oregon, the switch to four-day school weeks led to lower test scores in reading and math.[78]

Higher education in the United States[edit]

In January of 2022, D'Youville College announced a transition to a 4 day, 32-hour work week for all staff and administration without any change to employees pay or benefits.[79] The employees were previously working 37.5 hours per week.[79] This initiative was a follow-up to a pilot program in 2020 which received positive feedback from employees.[80] The program is described as a 6 month trial.[81]

The Gambia civil service[edit]

In The Gambia, a four-day work week was introduced for public officials by president Yahya Jammeh, effective February 1, 2013. Working hours were limited to Monday through Thursday, 08:00 to 18:00, with Friday designated as a day of rest to allow residents more time for prayer and agriculture. This regulation was abolished in early 2017 by his successor, president Adama Barrow, who decreed a half-day of work on Fridays.[82]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Facer, Rex L.; Wadsworth, Lori L. (May 2010). "Four-day work weeks: Current research and practice". Connecticut Law Review. 42 (4): 1031–1046.
  2. ^ Booth, Robert (February 19, 2019). "Four-day week: trial finds lower stress and increased productivity". The Guardian. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  3. ^ Robinson, Bryan (August 2, 2022). "These Business Leaders Say Four-Day Workweeks Increased Productivity—But Also Added Stress". Forbes. Retrieved September 25, 2022.
  4. ^ Veal, Anthony (December 24, 2018). "It's time to put the 15-hour work week back on the agenda". The Conversation. Retrieved July 26, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Bregman, Rutger (2014). Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There. pp. 128–132.
  6. ^ a b Fact Sheet: Compressed Work Schedules, from United States Office of Personnel Management
  7. ^ Hyatt, Edward; Coslor, Erica (March 5, 2018). "Compressed lives: how 'flexible' are employer-imposed compressed work schedules?". Personnel Review. 47 (2): 278–293. doi:10.1108/PR-08-2016-0189. hdl:11343/191878.
  8. ^ "Google's 80/20 Formula – It can work for you!". SmartStorming. October 5, 2009. Retrieved June 6, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Google Says It Still Uses the '20-Percent Rule,' and You Should Totally Copy It". Inc. November 1, 2020. Retrieved June 6, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Casalicchio, Emilio (June 21, 2021). "UK should seize pandemic 'opportunity' to work more flexibly, says review chief". Politico. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  11. ^ Sharples, Sarah (May 20, 2022). ""'Hustling': Australian companies embracing the four day work week"". news.com.au. Retrieved July 26, 2022.
  12. ^ Elvin, Sian (January 17, 2022). "Four-day working week pilot launched in UK". Metro. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  13. ^ Ryall, Julian (June 22, 2021). "Japan proposes four-day working week to improve work-life balance". Deutsche Welle.
  14. ^ Bateman, Tom (February 15, 2022). "Belgium approves 4-day week and right to disconnect". euronews. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  15. ^ "Jacinda Ardern flags four-day working week as way to rebuild New Zealand after Covid-19". The Guardian. May 20, 2020. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
  16. ^ Kelly, Jack (January 8, 2020). "Finland Prime Minister's Aspirational Goal Of A Six-Hour, Four-Day Workweek: Will It Ever Happen?". Forbes. Retrieved October 21, 2021.
  17. ^ Pohjanpalo, Kati (July 6, 2021). "Iceland Cuts Working Hours With No Productivity Loss, Same Pay". Bloomberg.com.
  18. ^ Veal, Anthony (July 13, 2021). "Follow Up: Was Iceland's 'Four-Day Week' Was as Successful as Advertised?". Interesting Engineering. The Conversation. Retrieved January 2, 2022.
  19. ^ "Kiwi firm Perpetual Guardian to test four-day week with workers on full pay". NZ Herald.
  20. ^ "New Zealand trust company trials three-day weekends for employees". 9Finance Australia.
  21. ^ "Work four days, get paid for five: New Zealand company's new shorter week". The Guardian.
  22. ^ "New Zealand company to trial four-day work week". The Straits Times.
  23. ^ "Στη Νέα Ζηλανδία μία εταιρεία θα πληρώνει τους υπαλλήλους της για πέντε μέρες εργασίας ενώ θα δουλεύουν τέσσερις". HuffPost Greece.
  24. ^ "Quattro giorni di lavoro e cinque di paga: la sperimentazione di un'azienda neozelandese". Vanity Fair Italy.
  25. ^ "Perpetual Guardian to test four-day week". Stuff.co.nz.
  26. ^ "'Heck it was productive': New Zealand company trials four-day work week .... but will it stick?". South China Morning Post. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  27. ^ "Perpetual Guardian's four-day working week trial going well". Stuff. March 31, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  28. ^ "Workers embrace four-day week at Perpetual Guardian - NZ Herald". NZ Herald. March 29, 2018.
  29. ^ Peters, Lucia. "A Company Is Testing Out Four-Day Work Weeks — And It's Having MASSIVE Success". Bustle. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  30. ^ a b "Kiwi company trials four-day working week for more 'energised, engaged workforce'". TVNZ. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  31. ^ "Kiwi company trials four-day working week for more 'energised, engaged workforce'". TVNZ. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  32. ^ "Working four-day weeks for five days' pay? Research shows it pays off". Stuff. July 24, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  33. ^ Yeung, Jessie. "A New Zealand company tried a four-day work week. It was a 'resounding success'". CNNMoney. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  34. ^ "Seven Sharp". Facebook.com. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  35. ^ "Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes hails four-day week trial". Newshub. July 18, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  36. ^ "Perpetual Guardian makes four-day week permanent". Stuff. October 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  37. ^ "Why this company switched to a four-day work week". CNBC. August 16, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  38. ^ "Kiwi business hails four-day work week trial". RadioLIVE. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  39. ^ "Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes hails four-day week trial". Newshub. July 18, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  40. ^ "Four-day working week trial at Perpetual Guardian a success, boss wants to make it permanent". NZ Herald. July 21, 2018. Archived from the original on December 25, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  41. ^ Lea, Brittany De (July 19, 2018). "New Zealand company tested four-day work week, results may surprise you". Fox Business. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  42. ^ "Perpetual Guardian improves work-life balance using four-day week". Employeebenefits.co.uk. July 20, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  43. ^ Roy, Eleanor Ainge (July 18, 2018). "Work less, get more: New Zealand firm's four-day week an 'unmitigated success'". the Guardian. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  44. ^ "A 4-Day Workweek? A Test Run Shows a Surprising Result". Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  45. ^ Venuto, Damien. "Four-day working week may become permanent for Kiwi company". Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  46. ^ "Four-day working week trial at Perpetual Guardian a success, boss wants to make it permanent". NZ Herald. July 21, 2018. Archived from the original on December 25, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  47. ^ "Four-day week. Yes we can!". Radio New Zealand. July 18, 2018. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  48. ^ "A 4-Day Workweek? A Test Run Shows a Surprising Result". The New York Times. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  49. ^ "'We've seen a massive increase in engagement'". NewsComAu. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  50. ^ Would a four-day working week boost productivity?, July 18, 2018, retrieved July 24, 2018
  51. ^ "Company Tests 4-Day Work Week, Employees Return Energised After Long Weekend - WORLD OF BUZZ". Worldofbuzz.com. July 18, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  52. ^ (www.dw.com), Deutsche Welle. "New Zealand company switches to four-day working week | DW | July 18, 2018". DW.COM. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  53. ^ "Four-Day Workweeks Create More Productive Employees, New Study Shows". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved November 29, 2018.
  54. ^ "Four-day work week trial 'very interesting' - Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway". Newshub. July 19, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  55. ^ "Four-day working week trial a bonus for working mums". Stuff. July 17, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  56. ^ "Kate Hawkesby: Why women should negotiate their pay based on productivity". NZ Herald. July 29, 2018.
  57. ^ "Millennials are rejecting the 9-5 workday". Stuff. July 18, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  58. ^ "Four-day week could help to ease Auckland's traffic woes". NZ Herald. July 18, 2018.
  59. ^ "'Would rather come to work': Four-day working week trial a success, but didn't work for everyone". The Sydney Morning Herald. July 17, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  60. ^ 4-Day Workweek Boosted Workers' Productivity By 40%, Microsoft Japan Says
  61. ^ Porter, Jon (November 5, 2019). "Microsoft Japan's four-day working week trial led to productivity improvements". The Verge. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
  62. ^ "Accredited 4 Day Week Employers". UK 4 Day Week Campaign. July 26, 2022. Retrieved July 26, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  63. ^ "'The four-day week: who's making it work?'". ITV News. April 17, 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2019.
  64. ^ "'Workers given four day week at law firm'". Metro Online. May 24, 2019. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  65. ^ [barefootarchitects.co.uk/barefootblog/2020/1/16/making-a-progressive-leap-in-2020-as-we-introduce-a-4-day-working-week "Making a progressive leap in 2020 as we introduce a 4-day working week"]. Barefoot Architects. Retrieved July 26, 2022. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  66. ^ "Big Potato Games". Big Potato Games. Retrieved July 26, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  67. ^ [employeebenefits.co.uk/charlton-morris-launches-four-day-week/ "Charlton Morris launches four-day week"]. Charlton Morris. Retrieved July 26, 2022. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  68. ^ [cmgtechnologies.co.uk/about-cmg-technologies/ "About CMG Technologies"]. CMG Technologies. Retrieved July 26, 2022. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  69. ^ [heraldscotland.com/news/19922608.edinburgh-brewer-vault-city-opts-four-day-week-pilot-success/ "Edinburgh brewer Vault City opts for four day week after pilot success"]. Herald Scotland. February 14, 2022. Retrieved July 26, 2022. {{cite news}}: Check |url= value (help)
  70. ^ a b "Utah is going to a 4-day workweek". NBC News. Associated Press. July 3, 2008.
  71. ^ Heather Kerrigan, Utah's Demise of the Four-Day Workweek, Governing (July 13, 2011).
  72. ^ Wadsworth, Lori L.; Facer, Rex L.; Arbon, Chyleen A. (September 1, 2010). "Alternative Work Schedules in Local Government: Cui Bono?". Review of Public Personnel Administration. 30 (3): 322–340. doi:10.1177/0734371X10368223. S2CID 154224973.
  73. ^ Facer, Rex L.; Wadsworth, Lori (June 2008). "Alternative Work Schedules and Work–Family Balance: A Research Note". Review of Public Personnel Administration. 28 (2): 166–177. doi:10.1177/0734371X08315138. S2CID 154667925.
  74. ^ Facer, Rex L.; Wadsworth, Lori L.; Arbon, Chyleen (2009). "Cities Leading the Way: The Use of Alternative Work Schedules by Cities". The municipal year book 2009. pp. 28–33. ISBN 978-0-87326-571-3. OCLC 874180062.
  75. ^ Herring, Chris (March 8, 2010). "Schools' New Math: The Four-Day Week". The Wall Street Journal.
  76. ^ a b Toppo, Greg (August 20, 2002). "In rural areas, the four-day school week is growing in popularity". The Christian Science Monitor. Associated Press.
  77. ^ "Four-Day School Weeks". National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
  78. ^ Thompson, Paul N. (January 2021). "Is four less than five? Effects of four-day school weeks on student achievement in Oregon". Journal of Public Economics. 193: 104308. doi:10.1016/j.jpubeco.2020.104308. S2CID 229397116.
  79. ^ a b Kaplan, Juliana (January 11, 2022). "A college in upstate New York is shortening the work week to 32 hours, but pay and benefits are staying the same". Business Insider. Retrieved January 21, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  80. ^ Redden, Elizabeth (January 10, 2021). "A 4-Day Workweek". Inside HigherEd. Retrieved January 21, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  81. ^ Schwartz, Natalie (January 7, 2022). "Inside one college's move to a 4-day workweek". Higher Ed Dive. Retrieved January 21, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  82. ^ "Gambia's President Barrow scraps Jammeh's four-day week". BBC News. February 3, 2017. Retrieved February 4, 2017.

External links[edit]