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Studies show benefits of a 4-day workweek

By Jennifer Raptoplous
On April 21, 2023

The weekend never seems to last long enough.

In recent years, there has been a growing movement pushing towards a four-day workweek. Navigating our post-pandemic world, organizations are experimenting with the idea of reimagining the workplace.

For many people, the previous structure of the five-day, 40-hour workweek feels outdated. Perhaps fewer days spent in the office or working from home would allow employees to value their time more, while benefiting employers by increasing productivity rates.

For many people, the idea of working fewer days is enticing. But could it really work?

The idea of a four-day workweek has been around for decades. Data shows that it increases productivity, reduces stress and improves overall well-being. Many countries around the world have experimented with it and some companies are even implementing it successfully.

For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic offered a chance to rethink the workplace for the first time. Among the stress of facing a global outbreak emerged a new form of working: in the comfort of your own home. Due to the use of fewer resources like electricity or supplies, many companies even saved money. As the readjusted routines of COVID-19 are coming to an end, the strain of going back into the office has become more apparent. A study done by “Better Workplaces Better World” found that 80 percent of people would be more loyal to their employers if they offered flexible work options.

As both employees and employers struggle to mend pre- and post-pandemic ideas of the workplace, a flexible work schedule is the only solution.

One of the biggest advantages of a four-day workweek is an increase in productivity. Studies done by companies such as the Perpetual Guardian, have shown that people who work fewer hours tend to be more produc- tive and are focused and motivated during the time they are at work.

In 2019, Microsoft Japan announced productivity rates rose 40 percent during a test of the four-day workweek.

The four-day workweek also has potential benefits for the environment. Less people commuting to work results in a reduction of air pollution.

There are also potential draw- backs to a four-day workweek, the most obvious being a loss of income. Another issue is the lack of time. Critics worry there would be fewer opportunities to schedule meetings, resulting in a lack of communication. However, with apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams, communication within the workplace has never been easier.

The idea of a four-day workweek is an attractive one, with potential benefits for individuals, society, and the environment. Despite its potential drawbacks, there is a shift in attitudes within the workplace.

A four-day workweek would re- quire support and coordination from both employers and employees.

If done correctly, however, it could inspire improved productivity, stronger work-life balance, a happier workforce and a better relationship with the workplace.

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