Stephanie Vozza, in a January 2015 Fast Company article, points out that for many U.S. companies, four day workweeks are quickly becoming the norm. Nearly 43% of companies are offering four day workweeks to at least some of their employees, and 10% are making it universally available to their employees.
Believe it or not, this change not only produces equal results to those seen in a longer work week, but in many cases, it even brings up the bottomline. It also has proven capable of dropping turnover rate, doubling profits, and pulling up client satisfaction overall.
Yet, despite these positive outcomes, shorter workweeks can come with their own set of challenges. However, making it work often comes down simply to a change of mindset.
Here’s some tips from top industry leaders who have made the transition successfully:
Plan for Success
Successfully implementing a shorter work week heavily depends on shifting workflow and communication schedules. Proper planning in these instances can make the difference between making it work and getting stuck with the status quo.
When an employee has less time to complete a project, what often happens is that the project will be compressed to its most efficient form, and things that don’t matter will get pushed out. In order to make this work, however, it to stay focused on the bigger picture, which may be as basic as staggering schedules. Not everyone needs a Friday off, some people can have off Monday instead.
Everyone Does His Part
Shifting to a four day workweek comes with the added responsibility that employees still need to get the work for that week finished in the allotted time. Having three days off works as an incentive to work harder and finish tasks that allow others to complete their work. Essentially, everyone still needs to do their part whether they’re working four days or five.
Not All Roles Can Be Non-Traditional
It’s important to go into this shift understanding that not all positions are suited for a four day week. Within a hybrid system, it’s important to explain roles to new employees upfront, so they don’t develop a sense of resentment towards their coworkers. It’s also true that sometimes exceptions can be made. Those who often work shorter weeks may have to be flexible and stay on an extra day to meet deadlines, and others who have finished their work in four days can have the three days off they’ve been craving.
Don’t plan to change everything right away, do small tests first with one Friday off here and there. If that system works, take more dramatic steps.
High performance environments are flexible and responsive to those who produce and manage the work. Elder care, doctor visits, and child care often conflict with schedules, and sometimes changing policies in order to provide more wiggle room can actually make your company more efficient.
Read more on Fast Company.
What’s the best example of a company that has changed policy in response to the need for more flexibility?