A FOUR-day work week may be the key to putting worker efficiency into overdrive, says business leaders and experts.
The worldwide pandemic has blurred the line between work life and home life for almost all workers deemed non-essential.
3-Day weekends are better than 2-Day weekends. We should seriously look at 4-day workweeks. Studies show that we would be just as productive. It would create jobs at the margins and improve mental health. https://t.co/00C55f6AWl
Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang is one of many who has offered up the four-day workweek as a solution to getting a disoriented workforce back on track.
“It would help get us off of this hamster wheel that we’re on right now,” Yang told Business Insider, reaffirming a claim he tweeted in May.
“We’re all sort of racing against the clock in service of this giant capital efficiency machine.”
Yang recalled famed economist John Maynard Keynes, who predicted in 1930 that work weeks would be reduced to 15 hours a week by now thanks to industry growth, according to Business Insider.
According to Yang, industry has grown as predicted, which means “…it’s past time we head in the right direction and implement a four-day workweek.”
A recent survey by The Harris Poll found that 82% of Americans support a four-day workweek.
Yang’s claims are supported by other industry leaders, such as Perpetual Guardian CEO Andrew Barnes, who implemented a shortened workweek to reportedly miraculous effect.
“…stress levels drop, creativity goes up, [and] team cohesion goes up” after implementing the policy, Barnes said.
Such a schedule does not necessarily mean four days of work and three days off, according to The Washington Post. Other formats include shorter, frequent work days, lengthened but infrequent work days, and a standard five-day week with a few half days.
“So what we’re talking about is a reduction in the working week. Not everybody comes out with a three day weekend,” Barnes said.
Other corporate giants have sworn by the trailblazing schedule. Microsoft Japan tried it out, and saw a 40% increase in productivity and a 23% decrease in power costs, according to Forbes.
Art Shectman, president and founder of software company Elephant Ventures, said the shortened week smashes the remote-work “guilt and anxiety loop,” which he says forms as employees at home tend to tasks around the house while on the clock.
Charlotte Lockhart, who founded 4 Day Week Global, sees this policy as a vital way to address the failure of assigning uniform schedules to at-home workers.
“as employers, we need to remember that we borrow people from their lives,” Lockhard said.
Robert Yeun, co-founder of the software company Monogram, said that reduced working hours are key to overcoming the confusion and disarray that comes with working from home.
“Having a really dedicated mental break to kind of relax and recharge is even more central today than it ever was,” he said.
Yeun’s company uses a 32-hour workweek with Wednesdays off.
The largest downside to this which Yeun recognizes is that it does not translate well to wage-paid employees, who would lose vital income with reduced hours.
It must be done on a “case-by-case, company-by-company, and industry-by-industry [basis],” he said.
Such policy has been touted by Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin, and is being examined as part of COVID-19 recovery efforts in New Zealand.
Barnes told Business Insider that utilising this strategy is a surefire way for a company to improve, and he even asserted that a traditional 5-day workweek is detrimental to corporate success.
“All of the key drivers that make your business a more successful business will improve as a consequence of this strategy,” he said.
“So actually, if you want to have a successful business, not doing this is actually the bigger issue.”