Reasons to Embrace a 4-Day Workweek
TGIF is a common saying for employees dreaming of the weekend. Even in the best companies, the employees always have the weekends in mind. The four-day work week won’t work for every company, but here are a few reasons to embrace it:
- Countries thar work less are more happier : When it comes to employee happiness, no other area in the world tops the charts like northern European and Scandinavian countries. Spending less time at work leads to happy employees. The U.N. points out that productivity and happiness appear to be linked, and the productivity tends to increase if the employees are happy.
- Even Economic Data Supports it: If shorter workweeks are leading to happier citizens and increasing productivity, then what exactly does the hard data have to say? A look at the World Bank‘s GDP data shows some interesting trends. For starters, the United States has seen growth for the past several years starting in 2009, right after the financial crisis hit. During that time, many people lost their jobs and wages stagnated or even decreased, possibly leading to a portrait of higher productivity for that time period. As the U.S. economy has recovered, jobs have returned and more people are back to work, but wages have not gone back up, leading to increased inequality, a shrinking middle class, and poor morale.
- So worker contentment in the U.S. has shifted downward while productivity has trended up.Taking GDP into account, it’s hard to draw a solid conclusion from data over the past few years. Although it looks like American industry is seeing growth, it is coming at the expense of employee morale and overall happiness of its citizens. Shorter workweeks certainly haven’t tanked any of the leading economies.
Added productivity and other savings: With less time to complete work, there’s also less time to waste. This forces employees to cut down on distractions and really focus on work while they’re in the office. Is there a relationship between working longer hours and increasing productivity?
The Atlantic points out, the relationships can be complex, but the underlying point is that more hours spent at work doesn’t always mean productivity will go up.Right now, the battle is set on minimum wage. But if shorter workweeks start taking hold in more countries with successful results, don’t be surprised to see American businesses start to adopting this practice themselves.