4-Day Work Week for All?

Today's post is submitted by Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos. Here, we revisit the feasibility of the 4-day work week.

Last year, we published global research regarding workers' attitudes toward their jobs and their managers. We also asked them about how they spent their time at work. One of the outcomes of this research was the finding that 78% of respondents said they could do their job in fewer than 7 hours per day if they could work uninterrupted. If pay remained constant, 34% said their ideal work week would be a 4-day work week while only 25% would stick with their current 5-day week.

In recent weeks, Microsoft Japan announced that it had piloted a 4-day work week with a group of its employees last August. Their results were impressive. Productivity (measured in sales/head) rose by 40% while electricity costs fell by 23%. In order to assist the productivity of the workers during their shorter week, those in the pilot limited their meetings to 30" and limited meeting attendees to no more than 5 people. Workers were encouraged to limit emails and use instant chat where possible.

There have been other successful experiments with 4-day work weeks, however the Microsoft story reinvigorated the discussion lately. Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand implemented the 4-day work week permanently after a successful pilot. In fact, it's CEO Andrew Barnes has launched a not-for-profit community called 4 day week to help others do the same.

I recently was interviewed on NPR affiliate KPCC to discuss the 4-day work week and how to make it work for employers and workers. During the broadcast, you'll also hear from a number of listeners who shared their own stories of the benefits of a shorter work week. You can listen in on the player below. Enjoy!

Has your organization tried to implement more flexible scheduling options for your workers? How did those trials turn out?