A Glimpse Into The Future Of Work: The Four-Day Work Week

In the light of the pandemic’s permanent impact on the workplace, both employees and employers are reconsidering the value of their job flexibility and benefits. New ways of working have become more prevalent during the past two years. Many of us have enjoyed the comfort of working from home or hybrid working. Hence, working a 9 to 5 schedule or travelling to the office five days a week may become obsolete. Some businesses are allowing for more innovative methods of motivating employees to perform their duties.


Having this said, workers demand higher flexibility and a better work-life balance. Companies must therefore pay attention and adapt to what employees want. Thus, the biggest pilot ever for a ‘four-day work week’ has begun.


The four-day work week is a big topic at the moment, with numerous government and corporate trials being announced in newsfeeds. Belgium enables a four-day week and grants employees the freedom not to speak with their manager after work. The trial of a shorter work week in Iceland has been overwhelmingly successful, increasing employees’ wellbeing. In the UK, the largest of its kind six-month pilot program began on June 6 in order to evaluate the effects of shorter working hours on corporate productivity and gender equality.


Giving people the freedom to rethink where, when and how they work has a definite impact on businesses as well. Employees can focus more during working hours by working flexibly rather than by working less. After experimenting with a four-day work week, Microsoft Japan reported a 40 per cent increase[1] in productivity improvements and a rise in employee satisfaction. Hence, offering flexible work – having the possibility to choose what time to start and end your work day is reshaping the way in which businesses compete in most sectors for the best employees.


The benefits of a four-day work week are obvious: improved employee work-life balance, increased productivity when at work and valuable employees are easier to find and keep. The question remains, though: is a four-day the future of employment?


With companies like Bolt making a 4-day work week a regular thing, and several more offering temporarily reduced schedules throughout the summer, it appears likely that this type of compressed, flexible work schedule is the way forward.

 

Edited and Reviewed by Tanish Bagga.

 

References/Wider Reading

[1]‘What does a four-day work week mean for the future of work?’, WORD ECONOMIC FORUM. May 22, 2022.

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