Is the Four-Day Workweek the Solution to Work-Life Balance?

Is the Four-Day Workweek the Solution to Work-Life Balance?

InCorp Editorial Team

Table of Content

The four-day workweek has recently been gaining traction as a potential solution to the challenges of modern work culture. 

Research indicates the four-day workweek positively impacts stress levels, energy, and productivity, and the idea of having an extended weekend has become attractive to many individuals. 

Many businesses are looking for ways to improve the workplace to create a more sustainable work-life balance. Thus, the four-day workweek has emerged as an exciting possibility. 

Is the four-day workweek will become the future of work? This question has sparked discussions and debates among experts, employees, and employers, making it a topic worth exploring.

What is a Four-Day Workweek?

A Four-Day Workweek is a schedule where employees work four days a week, with longer hours on work days and long weekends or a mid-week day off to get an ideal work-life balance.

After the pandemic, this topic sparked debates and discussions. The conversations resulted in a significant proportion of the workforce working from home. 

The argument usually centers on the productivity and efficiency of working from home. Another discussion often brought up while discussing work flexibility is the four-day workweek. 

Shorter Working Week Means Efficiency

Before delving deeper into the topic, it is crucial to understand that a four-day workweek means an equal workload and earnings with fewer workdays. 

Typically, implementing shorter workweeks drives employees to enhance their productivity and efficiency to achieve targets within a shorter working week.

Belgium just passed a bill allowing employees to decide whether to work for four or five days a week. The ultimate goal here is to provide more freedom and flexibility for the employees.

Why Do We Need a Four-Day Workweek?

Working long hours has been linked to a negative impact on human health, associated with higher heart disease and stroke.

On the other hand, a four-day workweek is economical for the employer, considering that the work levels are the same. 

A study of 2500 participants in Iceland was conducted, who worked a four-day week, and results showed a significant decrease in stress, increased energy, and improved job performance.

A similar practice has been adopted in Japan and Korea, yielding higher life satisfaction.

Aside from the general well-being of the workers, shorter work hours also positively impact emission levels.

Compressed work hours mean less commuting and, therefore, lower carbon emission.  

Read more: Do Indonesians Prefer Remote Working Opportunities?

Which Countries Have Embraced The 4-Day Workweek?

Several companies across the globe have started to embrace this system, especially those based in the UK. 

Before committing to the new working system, companies have formed a six-month trial period to assess the impact of shorter working hours on various aspects such as productivity levels and workers’ well-being.

Scotland and Wales also consider this trend, while Spain, Japan, and Sweden are on their way. However, the countries which have shown the most interest in this system are the United States and Canada. 

Pros and Cons of Having The Method

Is the Four-Day Workweek the Solution to Work-Life Balance?

Like any decision that shifts away from the norm, this method has pros and cons. Amongst others, the pros include:

  • Increased productivity levels of employees.
  • Reduced costs associated with work.
  • Reduced carbon emissions. 
  • Improvement in motivation levels of workers. 
  • Higher retention level and more significant competitive advantage in retaining talent. 

The cons of this method are also something to be taken into consideration. The potential drawbacks of implementing a four-day workweek are:

  • Limited availability for customer support.
  • Reduced scheduling flexibility.
  • Higher pressure and new expectations.

When considering business structure and needs, business actors should consider these factors. 

Consultation with employment experts may be required to ensure compliance with laws protecting the rights and obligations of workers during the decision-making process.

InCorp Indonesia provides employment services to ensure compliance with labor laws, support recruitment, and establish HR practices

Things to Consider Before Adopting the 4-Day Workweek

Is the Four-Day Workweek the Solution to Work-Life Balance?

For businesses looking to explore this method, several tips may ease the transition process and help guarantee favorable results. 

First, it would be best to temporarily test the technique before adopting it. 

Second, clarifying your expectations towards the employees regarding the working hours and workload is integral. 

Third, factoring in your customer needs and general business structures is essential. 

Finally, specific business models and operations may not allow this method to be adopted. Identifying if your business is one of these before adopting the technique is necessary. 

Should Businesses Adopt the Four-Day Workweek?

Adopting a four-day workweek is a big decision for any business. Therefore, it should be taken carefully and with much consideration. 

While many companies have succeeded in adopting such a system, it is essential to tweak and alter it to fit your company best. 

Before implementing such a change, a detailed discussion with the employees is also necessary. 

Employees have different needs and preferences, and a business that learns to accommodate such needs while balancing other aspects will indeed thrive from increased productivity rates. 

In conclusion, this method is worth considering but should be well-designed and considered before implementation.

Teddy Willy

Branch Manager - Surabaya Office at InCorp Indonesia

With 10 years of experience in business consultancy, Teddy Willy offers expertise in financial and production auditing, sales and marketing, channels and distribution, supply chain management, and human resources for every business sector in Indonesia.

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