Could 2023 be the Start of a New Era in the Virtual Space
Writing this on a Friday can not be more perfect. Everyone at work just can't wait to close their laptops and cap the week off right away. But what if, there were only four days to a work week instead of five? Wouldn't that be nice?
The four-day workweek is a concept that has been around for decades, but it's gaining traction again in the U.S. In theory, we adopted this new schedule, it could help boost productivity and employee retention while also reducing environmental damage and mental health issues for employees.
But before you get your hopes up too much. A four-day workweek would only become a reality if enough companies agreed on its benefits-- and there has been little research done on what such an experiment might look like in practice.
The idea of a 4-day workweek is gaining around the world
You may have heard about the four-day workweek- the idea that employees can work fewer hours and still get paid for the extra time. It's a concept lingering around companies like Google and Atlassian all experimenting with it.
In fact, there are plenty of other countries around the world doing this too. Germany has been using a four-day workweek since at least 2009. France introduced theirs in 2010, and Britain followed suit in 2015; while some other European nations have experimented with longer-than-normal working hours (as low as 10 hours) over the past decade or so.
So why are these countries getting away from traditional five-day workweeks?
Boosting productivity and increasing employee retention
It's no secret that the average American employee spends just 38.7 hours a week at work. This statistic is enough to drive most people crazy, but what if you could cut down those hours in half? What if you could spend more time doing what you do best - and less time doing things that aren't so great for productivity?
You might think it sounds like a pipe dream, but there are many benefits associated with having more free time:
Employees are more productive when they have more time to focus on their work
Employees are more likely to stay with a company if they have more time to spend with their families and friends.
Meet your diversity goals
You'd be forgiven for thinking that diversity is a luxury that only businesses can afford. But the opposite is true. diversity is an essential component of any company's success, and it's critical to the world at large. In fact, research has shown that companies with diverse workforces outperform their less diverse peers on everything from profitability and revenue growth to customer satisfaction and employee retention rates.
So what does this mean for your business? Well, the good news is that you want to create more inclusive workplaces- and if you want your employees (or potential hires) to feel comfortable in those environments- a four-day workweek might be just what you need!
In theory, lesser workweek can cut down on environmental damage
You could save the planet.
In theory, you can contribute to cutting down on environmental damage. It's a known fact that we're consuming more energy than ever before-the global economy produces almost twice as much CO2 per year as it did in 1950- but many of us don't feel the effects of this rapid growth in our daily lives because we live in places where there are few natural disaster or climate change-included weather changes.
A shorter working week would mean fewer people working at peak times and thus less strain on the grid during those hours (and therefore less need to power up an entire city). This means pollution and waste output from factories, too!
Reduce mental health issues for employees
If you're an employer, this could be a good thing. If a four-day workweek reduces mental health issues for employees and leads to more productive workers, it will be beneficial for everyone involved.
But what if it doesn't? What happens if people start calling in sick because they can't handle the monotony of their jobs or lack of sleep? What happens if people start sleeping through classes at school or skipping out on social activities altogether because they have so much on their hands?
If you want to know how your employees feel about their lives and whether or not they think this idea is a good one, ask them!
Whether or not we adopt a four-day workweek is up to the country's business leaders and employees.
The idea has been discussed in the past, but it seems like it hasn't taken off yet. In fact, many people think that their countries will stick with their traditional nine-to-five schedule for the foreseeable future-- and they're probably right! That said, it's still possible that 2023 could be a turning point in everyone's work culture.
As we've seen, a four-day workweek has its merits. It could save companies money in the long run and help employees be more productive and happier. But is it possible? If you're a business leader or owner, what do you think? Would you like to work fewer hours but still get paid less? Would you rather have a full week every month?