How many of you have heard the saying “we don’t live to work, we work to live?” As the pandemic turned everyone’s typical work week upside down, it’s shed some light on just how we’ve had to adjust our lives around the rigid 40-hour work schedule.
This phrase quickly rang true once companies were forced to work from home. Employees still were required to put in the same amount of hours; however, burnout accelerated at a much higher rate, and employees soon became unhappy with the way they worked, eventually leading to the current “Great Resignation.”
The 5-day 40-hour work week is becoming outdated, and some companies are beginning to advocate for a shorter work week that doesn’t require a pay cut. A non-profit organization called “4-Day Week Global” is planning to initiate a 6-month pilot program in Spring 2022 to allow companies to transition towards the short work week. In return, the organization will measure the amount of work employees are producing, rather than the number of hours worked.
Seeing that the employee burnout rate was accelerated during the pandemic, organizations including 4 Day Week Global have noticed the number of unnecessary time was spent in Zoom meetings, as well as the disruptive work-life balance that employees had to lead, particularly female employees who required child and/or eldercare.
While the 4-day work week is a certainly a viable option for some companies, others trialed their own version of work flexibility. Elephant Ventures, a New York-based company went completely remote and reduced their work week to 4 days, but kept their 40 working hours. Their leadership team determined that short-term, employees were much more rested after a 3-day weekend, including projects that required a 5-day week. However, they’re still waiting for long-term profitability results to come through, and it’s too soon to tell whether this working model will continue to be effective later down the road.
What are your thoughts on a reduced work schedule? Would this model work best based on company size, or industry? Let us know what your thoughts!