The application of the 4-hour work week policy is revealing many inadequacies for employees. Many people feel that adopting this policy puts more pressure on them.

More and more businesses are paying attention to work-life balance. Many companies around the world have implemented a 4-day workweek model or a hybrid working model (working at the office and working from home via online form) to bring better work efficiency. However, implementing a 4-day work week without considering the real needs of employees can make things even more stressful.

The 4-day work week is being implemented in many countries

Since the 4-day workweek model was successfully adopted in Ireland in 2015, the United States, Japan and several other countries have followed suit. By June, 70 companies with about 3,000 employees in the UK had adopted a four-day work week with constant pay. Reducing the number of working days has brought a few positives such as improving work efficiency, attracting talent, and increasing employee happiness.

A study by software firm Qualtrics found that 92% of US workers also support this policy.

The 4-day work week is not a panacea: More than 70% of people feel that reducing working hours is an inconvenience - Photo 1.The 4-day work week is not a panacea: More than 70% of people feel that reducing working hours is an inconvenience - Photo 1.

However, according to a report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 5 million job vacancies, more than the number of people who are unemployed. Employees are thinking a lot about the company environment they want to work in and how they work to make life meaningful.

So while many employers are hesitant to talk about the four-day workweek, they need to understand the needs of their employees to retain their talent. According to Business Times, 88% of workers want a better work-life balance, 82% of employees believe that the 4-day workweek increases productivity; 79% of employees expect a 4-day workweek to improve their mental health.

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Disadvantages of the 4-day workweek

However, the 4-day workweek model is not a panacea for all problems. The most prominent of these is a reduction in working days but by no means a reduction in workload. If employees still devote themselves to work during the holidays, the problem of work-life balance remains unresolved. If businesses do not focus on the real needs of employees, the implementation of the 4-day work week may not achieve the expected goals and results.

According to the Business Times, 73% of respondents said they would work more to make up for the holidays. 55% of employees believe that shortening the workday will lead to customer frustration or dissatisfaction. 46% of employees say that the 4-day work week causes the company to lose part of its revenue.

A 4-day work week is not a panacea: More than 70% of people feel that reducing working hours is an inconvenience - Photo 2.A 4-day work week is not a panacea: More than 70% of people feel that reducing working hours is an inconvenience - Photo 2.

Research by Qualtrics shows that since the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic, flexibility in terms of location and working hours has increased. The 4-day work week or hybrid working became more popular, but at the same time the workload increased. Accordingly, it becomes more difficult for employees to resign.

The report says that while the four-day workweek has some benefits, it still doesn’t solve the problem when employees are exhausted. So before employers consider adopting this work policy, they should understand two things: Reducing working hours means adjusting or even reducing workload; Reducing working hours or in fact increasing stress for employees.

When a New Zealand company piloted a 4-day workweek, it was found that employees had to shorten their breaks and reduce social activities outside of work to cope with the real workload. 

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Issues businesses need to keep in mind are whether the workload can be properly adjusted when implementing a 4-day workweek or if the shortened day’s work has to be allocated to other working days. Also, will a reduction in workdays result in a cut in earnings?

Plus, research shows that the degree to which employees feel connected to work outside of work varies from person to person. Dealing with work-related issues outside of working hours can add to stress. Therefore, businesses should consider giving employees a real break outside of working hours instead of having to work 4 days a week but work pressure can strike at any time.

The report concludes that while the goal of implementing the 4-day workweek is good, attention should be paid to a number of issues, including employee welfare when adopting the 4-day workweek.

Source Business Times

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