The 4 vs the 5 day Work Week: Which is better?
When trying to run a company, it’s not always easy to pinpoint what steps one must take to maximize productivity and employee happiness. In a world where our processes have changed SO MUCH over the past 60 years, why are we still sticking to the same schedules of yore?
Groundbreaking research by the University of Connecticut has shown many interesting findings concerning the implementation of a shorter-4 day work week. Their multiple studies conducted in Utah removed Friday from the mix BUT added two additional hours to each work day from Monday to Thursday. Let’s see what happened with the 4 day work week and if the advantages are worth implementing in your own office.
Decrease in travel costs-money saved on gas and time wasted commuting.
This is a given, less time spent in annoying traffic, less money spent on gas and or public transit fare. This obviously was enjoyed by the employees.
Increase in Work-Family balance and Social Life
Employees reported a better balance in their life and the ability to do more enjoyable activities during the week- including spending time with family and friends. This is a VERY poignant finding because previous research has shown that increased work-family balance significantly decreases work-family conflict. Work-Family conflict has been shown to decrease productivity, increase absenteeism and increase turnover, so this finding is extremely significant.
Increase in Employee Morale and company saving costs
HR Directors noted a HUGE boost in overall employee morale and increased productivity. They also noted that, due to a reduction in overtime costs- companies and the city actually saved money.
The studies done in Utah did however reveal some drawbacks that employers should consider before implementing the 4 day workweek.
Less Face-time and Camaraderie
Due to not seeing bosses and colleagues as often- some employees did report a decreased sense of camaraderie and this of course affects company culture- something many businesses are striving to improve- so this is definitely something to think about.
As a whole- mixed reviews were obtained for businesses not open on Fridays. Some clients DID complain of a lack of access to services- so this is could be potentially problematic for business.
Difficulty scheduling meetings with other businesses
In a similar vein- companies who had to schedule meetings with other businesses did encounter difficulties, due to the non-traditional hours and lack of availability Friday. This resulted not only in scheduling conflict but in delays for business collaborations.
These studies showed that overall, employee satisfaction was improved as people reported better work-life balance and increased time to run errands, exercise and eat healthy. Companies also saved money on overtime costs and productivity was increased. There are issues to the implementation of a shorter week schedule, but it is potentially worth considering if you wish to save money and improve your employees happiness levels!
Here is a link to the original published study.
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