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The 4 day work week

In the before times of the pre-pandemic, a 4 day work week wasn’t something we would commonly see, and when we did, it was handled in a way that seems pretty obvious. Take one day, and toss it out. That’s it. There wasn’t much thought put into the fifth day’s workload or where that productivity would go. As you can imagine, that work would just get crammed into the remaining four days without and deeper discussion.

Since the pandemic, companies have been reevaluating how they operate, and from that reevaluation, the 4 day work week was beginning to evolve and become a true business strategy.

A Smaller Schedule Without Inefficiencies

In order for a 4 day work week to work, the first thing that needs to happen is the removal of all unnecessary tasks and meetings. Its should come as no surprise that one of the first things to be cut when implementing a 4 day schedule in almost every company are meetings. According to Meghan Keaney Anderson, Chief Marketing Officer at Wanderlust, Wanderlust did away with a third of their meetings for various reasons. A main reason? If a meeting has no agenda, it’s canceled. Wanderlust encourages it’s employees to reschedule meetings for another time if they find themselves unprepared.

A 4 day work week relies on businesses removing all of their inefficiencies. Even if they decide that a 4 day work week doesn’t work for their particular business, the act of sitting down and really thinking about how they operate can root out low and non-value items from the company’s workload.

Perfectly Balanced, As All Things Should Be

The true aim of a 4 day work week is to complete 100% of the work in 80% of the time, without loss of pay for employees. Co-founder of 4 Day Week Global, Charlotte Lockhart states.

“At its core, this is about changing a business’s productivity culture so that the business doesn’t lose any revenue but its people are able to take time off without losing pay.”

Charlotte Lockhart, Co-founder of 4 Day Week Global

Due to more free time in the early days of the pandemic, we began to reevaluate our lives and our careers. It became clear to a lot of us, that much of the workforce wasn’t happy with their work life balance. With the implementation of a 4 day work week, workers can use that extra day off however they wish. Some choose to spend it relaxing or running errands. Some use it to spend more time with their family. All without the worry of a pay cut. As I mentioned before, 100% of the work in 80% of the time.

From the Ground Up

In order for a company to adopt a 4 day work week, managers and other higher ups need to have an open and honest discussion about what it is employees are looking for. What is the company’s objective? What do employees want? What are the goals of the company? Why the switch? These are all important questions that need to be answered in order for a 4 day work week to work.

Cutting Out the Fat

Once the decision has made to switch over, the question now becomes, what can we remove? I mentioned earlier that meetings are usually at the top of the chopping block in terms of streamlining a business’ operations. But what else? A shorter time to operate means less time to accomplish tasks. 

“You have to figure out how to make decisions more quickly, and distribute information in an asynchronous way.”

Megan Keaney Anderson, Chief Marketing Officer at Wanderlust

Are there redundancies between departments? Is this process necessary? What can we automate? The ever popular, “This could of been an email” is a great example of how employees are keenly aware of how a business operations, and process can be changed or even removed all together. When making the switch, it is paramount that employee voices be heard. Here at Village Workspaces, we work hard every day to be as efficient as possible. Which means more time spent with our clients and their needs.

Top Down

The employees are the ones that make a 4 day work week work, but its the C-Suite that has to believe in it as well. A business is still a business, and you can’t operate if you aren’t making money. Its very important that at the end of the day, your P&L (Profit and Loss) Statement is unchanged by the switch. Tony Carnesi, a principal over at Do-Be Associates, has some suggestions.

“So many businesses don’t know how to measure what they’re trying to achieve.”

Tony Carnesi, Principal at Do-Be Associates

Tony suggest teams within an organization create their own benchmarks, schedules, and ways to operate and hold each other accountable. But benchmarks aren’t always about productivity. Burnout, mental health, as well as engagement should all be taken into consideration.

In conclusion, a 4 day work week has the potential to maximize a business’ efficiency will also allowing it’s employees a well needed proper break for the week. Some of our greatest “a ha” moments come when we refreshed, recharged, and ready to work.