You might not be aware of it yet, but the 4 day work week exists, and it is being put into practice and even being taken seriously as a valid option for the future of many companies.
Once you know this, you’re probably thinking: work one day less for the same salary without losing profitability? I’m in. This could be the summary of the question for you and also for thousands of employees in thousands of companies of different sizes and sectors around the world. Let’s take a closer look.
Where did the idea of the 4 day work week come from?
The idea of implementing the 4 day work week is by no means something that arrived at the start of the new year. However, it has taken on new momentum as a result of the shifts in the work model as a consequence of the pandemic. As you have probably noticed, the ultimate reflection of these changes is in the discoveries that both employees and workforces have made about this model when they have been forced to implement remote working on a large scale.
Supporters and critics of the 4 day work week
Although many employees think it is a great idea, the prospect of implementing the 4 day work week raises concerns about the profitability of this new work model. Moreover, there are those who downplay its importance as a necessity: if no one has demanded it so far, it is because establishing the 4 day work week is not an urgent matter, it is not a necessity for the majority of employees.
However, what if that silence had been due to the fact that it had not occurred to anyone until now to think of the 4 day work week as something viable? What happens when we have that possibility and begin to imagine the effect that, as employees, the 4 day work week would have on our lives?
4 day work week pilot testing
In order to test how legitimate this reluctance is, and in part to assess the feasibility of this new working day schedule, various pilot experiments are being carried out by public administrations with a certain number of companies.
These tests, already underway in Spain, follow Iceland’s initiative, which apparently tested a 4 day work week between 2015 and 2019 on a significant number of civil servants. Likewise, other pilot tests are already being implemented, for example, in Scotland and New Zealand, where the weekly working hours are starting to be cut without altering employees’ wages.
From these experiences, many will have the opportunity to examine the benefits or drawbacks associated with the 4 day work week. Some of these experiments are already yielding favorable results in terms of reducing certain psychosocial risk factors and therefore improving the psychological well-being of employees, without affecting productivity.
Ultimately, the challenge is not new, but the same as always: to find a work methodology that does not jeopardize (and, if possible, enhances) the psychological well-being of employees while being economically beneficial for companies.
What does the 4 day work week entail?
1. Finding a new balance in timing
It is a matter of redefining the proportions between time devoted to work and time devoted to leisure. It is true that some employees, mainly self-employed, have a certain margin to distribute their tasks so that they can have an extra day off outside the weekend.
However, most employees, especially those who work as salaried workers, have it engraved in their mindset that work takes up Monday through Friday, while the only days on which it is feasible and understandable not to work are “weekends” i.e., Saturday and Sunday.
The introduction of the 4 day work week implies for all of them, especially for the latter, to stop considering it natural to work five days a week and to start considering it feasible to eliminate one of them.
2. Reordering priorities
Thinking about the 4 day work week involves rethinking not only how much time we want to spend at work or how much time our work needs us to spend to maintain current productivity or to have higher productivity. It also involves asking what productivity is, how much productivity we need and how much productivity we want. And, of course, what the consequences are for the results of the company we work for and, therefore, for our own income.
Emotional well-being for companies
At ifeel, we are committed to improving employee and company well-being. That is why we strive to help them in the challenge of generating stimulating and healthy work environments for their employees.
For this purpose, our psychologists have created an emotional well-being program for companies. Through this collaboration, your company’s HR managers will be able to receive personalized, data-driven advice on how to improve their teams’ psychological well-being. In addition, this program provides employees with a complete mental health care service structured at different levels according to their needs. Try our program now to see how it can help you.
Visit our Resources section, where you will find podcasts, guides for Human Resources, or interviews with leading HR professionals. In addition, you will have access to a Psychosocial Risk Factors Template, which will help you comply with the Labor Inspection requirements.
We hope you found this post about the 4 day work week interesting and useful. Would you like to know more about our emotional well-being program for organizations? Simply get in touch and we will contact your team as soon as possible.