4 Day Workweek, the Future of Work?

Our workplace norms and expectations are changing. Employees expect employers to support social justice issues like diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and exhibit ethical corporate governance in a much more vocal, committed way than ever before. In addition, the pandemic accelerated and normalized the work from home (WFH) trend and even the work from any geography trend. We’re seeing the Great Resignation touching every employer as countless people say it’s time for a change. Everyone is exhausted and emotionally fragile after a year and a half of juggling family and work without boundaries, a divided society resulting in violence at our nation’s capital, social isolation, covid deaths, and now a looming return to another possible pandemic lockdown. People are tired. Perhaps the natural next step (the future of work?) is to make the workweek 4 days instead of 5 days to give employees the space to rest and recharge.

4-Day Workweek the Future of Work

During August, Emtrain has been piloting a 4-day workweek. Yes, it’s an employee benefit that is also a retention tool. But there’s also research supporting that people are way more productive and efficient when you reduce their working hours. Any parent can relate to this concept. How many of us became efficient wizards as soon as we had children and were forced to deliver results in our prescribed work time because we had to balance work with kids? It’s doable. But what is evident is that our younger colleagues are re-thinking the nature of work and what makes sense for them personally. Gone are the days when people early in their career signed up to work 60+ hours a week. As a young lawyer, Saturday was an expected workday at my firm, and we all showed up by 10 am. As outside counsel to Google 20 years ago, I know Google’s employee benefits of meals, laundry, gym, etc., were all designed to keep people working, and people happily did so. Generally, that’s not an acceptable work situation for people today.  

During the last few days of what’s been a difficult Summer, Emtrain decided to try out reducing the workweek in August to Monday through Thursday. First, we’ll assess the impact on our workforce and our business in meeting the goals in our 2021 plan. Then, we will loop back and report the talent and business results to our community so everyone can benefit from our pilot. We’ve certainly trimmed our expectations in terms of employee output. But perhaps the slight business reduction is outweighed by employee retention and a higher-performing team. At a minimum, it gives our team the flexibility to relax, recharge, and take care of themselves after a difficult period. 

If you’re looking to learn how to plan a successful 4-day workweek, check out our tip sheet on How to Implement a 4-Day Workweek for your organization with real impact. Need further guidance? Contact us to speak to one of our reps or email sdr@emtrain.com for immediate assistance and feedback. 

Workplace Culture
Janine Yancey
Business Compliance & Workplace Culture Expert
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