Thank God It’s Thursday!

The 4 Day Work Week may no longer be wishful thinking. Companies around the world are striving to improve our work / life balance.

Photo by Vlad Chetan on Pexels

In order to stay relevant and totally hip Katy Perry simply has to re-record her 2010 hit “TGIF” as “TGIT”. Last Thursday night, yeah we danced on tabletops…

With the four-day workweek gaining momentum, Thursdays may well become that eagerly anticipated day that kicks off the weekend.

The idea was bandied about until 2018 when a New Zealand company tested the format and then made it permanent.

Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes decided to pay his staff for a full five days despite them only working from Monday to Thursday.

He’d become concerned at the pressures on his staff as they often struggled to find a happy medium between their home and professional lives. Barnes believed that if staff could improve their work life balance then workplace productivity would benefit.

Correct.

He found that his staff were noticeably happier and significantly more productive.

“It’s all about working smarter, not working longer,” said Barnes which may have you nodding your head excitedly in agreement.

This philosophy is not so much centered around an extra day off but more on increased productivity and better use of time in the workplace.

Having said that, the extra day off plays a huge part in employees being able to find their ideal work-life balance.

Before the experiment 54% of the Perpetual Guardian staff were comfortable in balancing their work and home lives. After the trial period that number grew to 78%.

Employees at the legal firm also reported a greater job satisfaction and stronger motivation while at work.

We know, you’re waiting for the HOWEVER…but no. There is no downside for Barnes.

It comes down to everyone buying in and being on the same page.

“Everyone has to be committed and take it seriously for us to create a viable long-term model for our business.”

This isn’t a one-off quirky idea from a zany Kiwi CEO.

Before you rush off to get a New Zealand work visa then a taxi to Perpetual Guardian with your resume, it’s happening elsewhere.

Companies across the world are looking to implement a four-day week trial and if successful, making it permanent.

In 2019 Microsoft Japan also experimented with the four-day workweek. This was a bold move in a country renowned for its conservative business culture.

Microsoft was blown away by the results. Productivity was up by 40% and staff morale was significantly higher.

The positive results also extended beyond output. As a result of shorter hours Microsoft slashed 23% from its power costs and printed 60% fewer pages during the trial.

Microsoft also scaled back the unnecessary use of time and resources by cutting meeting times from 60 to 30 minutes and restricting the number of attendees to 5.

The company hasn’t made a four-day workweek official as yet but will be testing it again when they resume from COVID-19 disruptions.

If elected Britain’s Labour Party has announced its intentions to introduce a 32 hour / four-day workweek within the decade. The philosophy is simple: “We should work to live, not live to work.”

American fast food franchise Shake Shack has reaped the benefits of a four-day workweek with the initiative proving to be crucial in not only recruiting but retaining staff.

UK recruitment firm MRL founder David Stone wanted to focus on improving energy levels and happiness while reducing stress. After a 6 month trial he was more than pleased with the positive results of a four-day week.

Staff retention was 95% and productivity increased by 25%. Staff were striding in to work on Mondays refreshed, energized and motivated.

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

If that sounds like the complete opposite of your Mondays, fear not. Change in workplaces seems inevitable.

The 40 hour grind of Monday to Friday, 9-5 is a concept becoming more and more outmoded.

European countries have been operating on workweeks of 32-35 hours for decades.

Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Norway are countries with highly competitive economies and populations that enjoy favorable work-life balances.

If a four-day workweek becomes the norm for many companies then a further issue might be deciding the crucial extra day.

The current model is based on a Friday to Sunday weekend however another option is for Wednesdays off, then Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesdays off would rob people of their hump day but they’re likely to get over it.

Either way that’s basically two Fridays a week – Thank God It’s Tuesday or Thank God It’s Thursday!

The agony of choice…

Photo by Belle Co from Pexels

2 Comments

  1. This current pandemic has given a boost to the forward thinking that you reveal here. Employers in this neck of the woods seem to be endorsing more flexibility in working hours as working from home has led to increased productivity as well as happier employees.

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