Imagine having a permanent three-day weekend to spend time with loved ones, pursue a personal interest, or learn a new skill. While this may seem like something far-reaching, there’s a growing trend among organisations to make it a reality.
But, as a means to encourage a better work-life balance, improve productivity, and lower operating costs, how straightforward is it to implement a four-day work week?
Continue reading to learn more about the necessary steps to take and what to consider when looking to implement a four-day work week at your organisation.
1. Initial steps
Evaluate whether a four-day week will actually work in the first place
Before your organisation goes about making any changes, it’s important to consider whether a four-day week is even possible for your business. Take into account your industry, the nature of the work you do, your customer or client needs, resourcing requirements, and individual employee roles.
A four-day working week may be attractive to your people and prospect employees, but if it won’t work…it won’t work.
Consult your employees
Employees are the backbone of every company – without them, businesses wouldn’t succeed – and it’s critical their opinion goes above everything else.
Consider launching a pulse survey that gathers their feedback and ideas, and prove that a four-day work week is backed by at least 60-70% of your people before rolling the system out. Involving them in the decision-making process will ensure buy-in and keep them engaged – and it’ll help your organisation develop a plan that’s fair to each employee.
2. Making it work
Consider testing a four-day week first
It’s always advisable to test things before rolling them out. Consider trialling the four-day work week for a couple of months – this will give you time to iron out any issues that emerge and to make any relevant changes. You may realise a four-day work week isn’t a good fit for your organisation, or that it sends productivity and engagement through the roof.
Look into a part-time solution
If a full-time commitment won’t work, look into how you could make the four-day work week a part-time option. For example, implementing it for certain times of the year when business isn’t as busy, or during summertime when the evenings get lighter so employees can make the most of their time off.
If all goes well, and your organisation decides to go ahead with a reduced working week, ensure clear guidelines and expectations are established for what a four-day work week will look like at your organisation. For example:
- How many hours will be worked each day?
- Will there be any changes to pay?
- Or to annual leave entitlement?
- Who decides which day off an employee receives, the company or the employee?
- How will departments ensure cover for five working days?
- Will the hours worked each day be flexible or standardised?
No communication on non-working days
One of the main reasons an organisation may introduce a four-day work week is because it can provide a better work-life balance for employees – so don’t counteract this. Let your employees switch-off properly and enjoy their free time away from work.
For example, make it a standard expectation that employees should only be encouraged to respond to messages when they are back in the workplace.
Lay a foundation of trust
The implementation of a four-day work week must come with a level of trust towards employees to get their work done in a reduced timeframe. Failure to trust employees will only result in dissatisfaction in the workplace and can negatively impact productivity levels.
The WorkBuzz platform can give your organisation a better understanding of employee opinion, including on topics such as the four-day work week, to help you make better, data-driven people decisions and manage change better.
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