Is the Corporate World Ready to Adapt the Four Day Work Week?
The corporate work life isn’t really full of unicorns and rainbows. We wake up every morning in our mundane lives, drive to work, and do our thing. But all it takes is just a tiny thought of a long, three day weekend and we already imagine ourselves sleeping and chilling out in the span of those three days.
But what if we could have a three day weekend every single week? Wouldn’t that be just breathtaking? Well, it can be done, now that the Four Day Workweek concept is in the groove. A three day workweek easily takes all the stress away and the employees are rejuvenated for the coming work week.
But hold up, is it really that simple?
A five day work week is pretty much mainstream and strenuous, no doubt about it. The mundane nature of work life is something that takes it all away from the people—for a start, everything that goes beyond work. The concept of work-life balance goes into the gutter and a jobber is left spinning between the two spheres of life like a Whirling Dervish.
Human beings are more efficient creatures that what they think. We have so much capability within that we can do more work in a lesser amount of time if we are shown the sweet candy of an extra day off from work—one that can be spent sleeping around and spending time with our families.
So let’s try and understand how the four-day workweek works and why it’s actually a better option for organizations of the modern day.
How the Four Day Workweek Works
The basic objective of a four day workweek is the same as a five day or a six day work week—to get things done. But the fact that a four day workweek gets more things done than any of its counterpart options depends on how the four-day workweek works.
As illustrated in the infographic above, the usual Nine-to-Five, 5 Days a Week job burns 40 hours worth of Jobbers’ oil. A four-day workweek doesn’t really reduce the amount of working hours so there’s no loss of efficiency. In fact, the efficiency stays the same as employees work for two hours more everyday to take one day off their work schedule and turn it into vacation.
How the Four Day Workweek Helps
Whenever four day workweek is talked about, people have different perceptions. But all these different perceptions of one extra day off and one less working day turn out to have a common goal: Increased productivity and better life outside of work. Let’s understand how the four day workweek helps the employer and employees:
What’s in it for the Employer
The chair shot reality is that the employer wants to get things done as efficiently as possible, with the lowest of costs and highest of focus. When a four day workweek colludes with a smart group of employees, better levels of productivity follow which is what the employee needs.
There have been studies that state that the attrition rate decreases when four day workweek is in place, leading to lower unemployment rates and resultantly the overheard costs plummet. A happy employer is one that saves the moolah while getting work done with the same efficiency or more.
What’s in it for the Employees
The employees are pretty much sold on the shimmering candy of a three day weekend and one less working day, but there’s more to it than enhanced quality of personal life and a better work life balance ratio. Employees are able to utilize their time efficiently and they make the most of it rather than wasting it on nefarious meetings that don’t have an end product.
Employees yearn for that extra vacation day and that drives them to grind for extra hours
There’s always the factor of employee satisfaction as the employees are aware of the fact that they just need to work for 4 days before they hit the mattresses. Also, the team works in unison towards the goal as they have limited time on their hands that’s just enough to do the right thing. All in all, both the parties stay happy and satisfied
Although this sounds like an easy streak, but one thing that we have to keep in mind is that all employees don’t work on the same days and you are not guaranteed a looong three-day weekend if that’s what you expect.
Pay for the Four Day Workweek
When it comes to delivering paychecks to employees according to four day workweek, there are a certain things to keep in mind. There are two types of employees—Exempt employees and Non-Exempt Employees—both of which are paid differently in accordance to their time at work.
- Exempt Employees, as the name suggests, are exempt from overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) due to their positional duties and responsibilities.
- Non-Exempt Employees, on the other hand, are paid overtime according the hours they’ve worked. These overtime hours are subjected to the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Even if a workweek consists of four days working or five, it really doesn’t matter as long as the total number of working hours are 40 or below.
Overtime pay is only applicable if an employee works for more than 40 hours in a single week.
In states of California and some more points on the USA map, overtime is paid for a working day that goes beyond eight hours a day. If you are working there, then overtime would be paid for every single day you work for more than 8 hours.
The Four Day Workweek comes with a Catch
Yes, the concept sounds pretty enlightening and easygoing, the four day work week isn’t really all hunky-dory. A three day weekend isn’t up for grabs for everyone as the employees’ shifts are decided in accordance to business requirements.
The employees won’t get their dreamy three day weekend every single week as the working days are decided according to business demands.
If you are lucky enough, you might get three days off at a stretch. But that is highly unlikely and in most cases, employees work through the weekends and get a day off here and there. So if you’re in the dreamland of a three day weekend every passing week, it’s better to shake yourself back into reality.
Some employees even say that it “defies” the sense of a four day workweek as weekend days (Saturday and Sunday) illuminate the weekend spirits. But any employee would take an extra leave in exchange for two additional work hours a day over an extra day at work.
There’s another problem with a four day work week—not every business organization can transcend into this methodology. It depends from industry to industry as many businesses strive to offer daily services to customers. Even when all the permutations and combinations are applied, a shortage of employees in hand can be a catalyst in taking turns for the worse.
The Crux: Four Day Workweek is in the Womb
Sure, the concept of a four-day workweek sounds interesting and it is definitely going to do wonders in both employees’ and employers lives and change the corporate zeitgeist in times to come. With increased efficiency and better results, it’s surely going to help the organization.
But the way we see it, the concept still needs some work and it is way ahead of its time. We started from just one day leave and now it’s the weekend off—the three day weekend might soon become normal. Who knows?