The 4-Day Work Week: A Close to Future or a Utopia?

four day workweek

The concept of a four-day workweek has as soon as once more been gaining momentum because the pandemic pressured firms and staff to revise their working patterns and turn out to be extra versatile.

A number of international locations in Europe are working to make it a actuality, together with Spain, the UK, Finland, and Russia. Microsoft’s Japan location has even examined shutting its workplaces down each Friday for a month and noticed a 40% improve in productiveness.

The 4-Day Work Week: A Close to Future or a Utopia?

Whereas there are definitely advantages to compressed hours, there are additionally just a few disadvantages and challenges. Implementing a four-day workweek could be troublesome because it requires the best assist, know-how, and office tradition.

Is a four-day workweek a practical prospect with out compromising enterprise? Let’s attempt to perceive what prevents this initiative from being applied, whether or not it’s doable in any respect within the foreseeable future, and what position know-how will play on this course of.

With technological progress, individuals don’t work much less

With growing operational effectivity and automation on the whole, individuals’s roles have gotten tougher, requiring extra data, non-standard pondering, and new abilities.

Worldwide unemployment, excluding durations of acute disaster, stays roughly the identical.

New Tech in work

With new applied sciences, enterprise processes are accelerating and worker necessities are growing. Take the instance of a customer support consultant in a financial institution department.

Ten years in the past, operators spent at the least one-quarter of their working day reprinting information from passports, photocopying driving licenses and different paperwork wanted to open an account, approving a mortgage, verifying a brand new company shopper based mostly on their Federal Earnings Tax, and so forth.

At present, nearly all of those tech operations are automated at work.

Does this imply that staff are sitting and twiddling their thumbs on an workplace chair? No, in fact not. Simply by way of clever options, they handle to serve extra individuals and concurrently do one thing else: analyze information, reply to buyer requests, and supply them new banking merchandise. There’s nonetheless loads to do Monday by way of Friday.

Simply a few years in the past, distant work was seen as a response to the general public’s request for extra free time.

Certainly, with the event of company mobility applied sciences, we’re not tied to the workplace. We are able to work wherever on this planet with an Web connection, consistently examine mail, and reply to requests from companions and colleagues.

The pandemic has shattered the parable that we are going to work much less when working remotely.

Initially, it turned out that not all firms have been prepared to change to this format.

In keeping with an ABBYY survey carried out on the finish of 2020, 64% of firms needed to undertake new applied sciences and processes, whereas 74% of staff stated they confronted challenges with switching to distant working.

Most of them discovered it troublesome to arrange a house workplace relating to know-how and restructuring enterprise strategies. When figuring out the reason for their greatest challenges, 40% of staff blamed a lack of knowledge or options for finishing duties, whereas 32% blamed not having the best IT instruments.

The worldwide financial system is holding on for 2 weekends

Companies, in addition to the mannequin of consumption of products and companies, have a tendency to regulate to the lifestyle of the individuals.

The U.S. formally adopted the five-day workweek in 1932, in a bid to counter the unemployment brought on by the Nice Despair. However Henry Ford, the legendary carmaker, made Saturday and Sunday days off for his workers as early as 1926 and he was additionally eager to ascertain a 40-hour working week.

An altruistic transfer partly additionally gave his staff the chance to spend their downtime shopping for shopper merchandise and maintaining money circulating by way of the financial system.

Total industries have grown round free time.

It’s protected to say that theatres, video video games, the style trade, health and beauty, and eating places and bars wouldn’t have obtained such improvement with out two days off.

The share of companies within the construction of the world financial system is rising steadily. In keeping with the most recent information from The World Economic system, it’s already approaching 60% of GDP. Specialists predict that it’s going to proceed to extend.

Monetary loss with a 4, working day week

With that stated, it might be troublesome to maneuver to 4 working days with out important monetary losses and influence on productiveness.

If you happen to have a look at the present five-day program, the height of worker effectivity tends to fall on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Most Mondays are whenever you’re ‘stepping into working mode,’ and on Friday, work exercise goes down.

On the opposite facet, a four-day week may give staff loads of time to relaxation and get well and return to work feeling able to tackle new challenges.

Maybe this might even relieve the dreaded ‘Sunday Scaries’ feeling. For instance, from 2015 to 2017, Sweden carried out a trial research right into a shorter workweek. “Nurses at a care dwelling labored solely six hours for 5 days per week. Outcomes have been largely optimistic with nurses logging fewer sick hours, reporting higher well being and psychological wellbeing, and larger engagement as they organized 85% extra actions for sufferers of their care.”

The “nurse research”  exhibits that one other time off might be possible if approached appropriately.

Similar to when we now have to adapt over a sure period of time when altering to a brand new schedule, companies ought to think about a gradual method for workers. This might be completed by introducing packages and methods at the start of the day, sharing reminders of latest and incomplete duties, and inspiring open conversations to make the brand new schedule operate nicely.

Work much less however extra effectively

The battle for effectivity has been ongoing because the 20th century. Productiveness development is the one issue that may actually assist cut back the working week for the foreseeable future.

No firm will entertain giving an additional time off except they’re positive the job will nonetheless get executed, whether or not it’s by an worker or a digital doppelganger. If we wish to have extra free time, we’ll be anticipated to, at the least, do the identical quantity of labor in much less time.

Tech’s position — AI and enterprise course of at work

Know-how has helped give away routine duties to machines equivalent to getting into information from paperwork, evaluating their variations, looking for data in company methods, and extra.

The very optimization of enterprise processes could be managed by way of automation. Now, methods with AI components can robotically calculate worker efficiency requirements.

As well as, these options will let you establish repetitive duties within the general workflow that may be transferred to robots.

Whereas robots don’t do all of the work for workers, they may also help them unencumber extra time and keep away from boring, monotonous work. Sooner or later, AI is predicted to make much more world advances. Analysts predict that by 2022 AI will create 133 million new jobs, and by 2030, it is going to improve the world GDP by $15 trillion.

Though AI offers a aggressive benefit to companies, there are not any revolutionary modifications but. Usually, the extent of productiveness in several international locations is just not the identical. For instance, the best international locations globally are in Scandinavia – Luxemburg, Norway, and Switzerland, with the U.S. listed at seventh place, adopted by Eire and Australia.

Productiveness at work is just not all the time related to know-how

Productiveness is just not all the time related to know-how. For instance, it’s not customary in Germany to speak about private issues or non-working points, aside from throughout lunch breaks. On a big scale, it is a important time-saver.

Motivation and non-conformity to enterprise procedures additionally play a job. Nonetheless, the processes themselves can usually be blamed for this. We nonetheless spend loads of time on pointless levels, gradual collaboration, looking for data inside the corporate and past, and duplication of duties.

IDC estimates that as much as 20% of firms’ earnings are an issue annually. On this regard, the idea of digital intelligence is regularly gaining recognition throughout bigger, well-known firms. An organization that desires to enhance its digital intelligence and get a pointy leap in productiveness wants to totally perceive the deepest points of its processes.

What about mining?

In keeping with analysis, within the subsequent two years, the demand for course of mining options will develop 8-fold to $1.4bn by 2023. It is because these applied sciences will let you higher perceive what is occurring in your organization in any respect levels and ranges of processes.

Digital evaluation of every thing you do at work in your organization

It’s a digital evaluation of every thing that occurs within the firm. Accounts, credit score agreements, tax kinds, payrolls, and supply studies are all fragments of the processes on which the enterprise is constructed.

Firms which have the instruments to investigate and use this information appropriately achieve an simple aggressive benefit. They’ll map processes and see the place technological innovation is most acceptable and the place automation will, or is not going to, carry important financial savings in money and time.


I’m assured that utilizing machine studying and predictive analytics will someday assist change firm codecs and permit staff to do per week’s price of labor in lower than 40 hours. Till then, I assume I higher preserve that golf slot for Saturday.

Picture Credit score: evan sensible; unsplash; thanks!

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