Updated: Jun 25
As an employee who has been working for more than 7 years and have experienced different employers working 5 days a week from 9 to 5. Everything started to change when the pandemic hit and suddenly employees like me have transitioned into working from home, having compressed work weeks, and hybrid work environment. All these changes have made employees like me rethink that the 5 9/5 set up might be outdated. As we eased into the new normal many organizations have realized and starting to rethink the traditional working schedule to boost productivity among their valued employees.
Although this kind of work week set up is being on trial and practiced right now from other companies globally, the question for employers and employees are does this answer or improve stress and work burn out? does this really improve productivity? what does each organization need to consider when going to this direction?
The idea of a 4 day work week is simple, employees will work fours days week, meaning with reduced work hours but will get the same pay, benefits and workload. The goal is to boost productivity and promote work-life balance. As an employee and a working mom, I am a big advocate of the four day work week, being able to have extra personal and family time means a lot to me, plus and extra day off rest? Now that's definitely work life balance! We at Cinemagic are considering the four day work week option and we have initially started with a simple survey via Google Forms asking our rockstar team what day do they prefer to take off. We work from Sunday to Thursday and here's the initial result:
The survey alone has sparked enthusiasm within our organization and personally I love that our management has considered to reform work lifestyle and leaning toward work style innovation. The fact that it is being considered means a lot as if you are planning or considering a four day work week, it could be the best decision you have ever made for your employees and here are the reasons why:
Boosting Productivity & Work-life Balance
Several companies across the world has initiated a trial on a four day work week, before the pandemic Microsoft Japan, had a trial of the 4 day / 32 hours work week which they called “Work-Life Choice Challenge 2019 Summer” results has not only discovered how it can be beneficial to employees but they have also discovered how to eliminate inefficiencies. During the trial the report has discovered that 30 minutes meeting are more than enough and maximum members should only be 5 people. It showed a +46% increase in productivity and in terms of work-life balance.
According to a research from Henley Business School "more than two-thirds of companies believe that offering a four-day week will be essential for future business success." the release of their white paper from 2019 titled "Four Better of Four Worse?" has stated a result through a quantitative survey concludes that 78% of employers expressed that their employees feel less stressed at work. When employees are less stressed and they achieve work-life balance, it benefits not just the employee as well as the company, hence this can be a good decision to make for your business.
August 2019 “30 minute meeting” implementation rate: +46% improvement (compared to August 2018). Many of the meetings held by Microsoft Japan employees are habitually set for 60 minutes without any clear reason. was found to be only about half. - Microsoft "Work-Life Choice Challenge 2019"
Increase in Efficiency
Aside from the increase in productivity, a four day work week can also result to increase in efficiency. According to the company Bolt, a San Francisco based tech firm who have initiated a pilot 4 day work week last year that they have observed 86% of their team members had become more efficient upon initiating the 32 hour work week with Friday downtime for catch up. The success of their 3 month trial has garnered a positive response from their survey with 96% of their team members expressing they want to continue with the program. Bolt has turned their four day work week program permanently.
With implementing a four day work week the rise in efficiency with your team members is highly expected. Employees will become more conscious and will have better time management as they will be more focused. The four day work week structure aims for employees to focus on work time rather than meetings that can cut down their actual work hours. They become efficient when companies like Bolt piloted their trial and cutting down meetings into 30 minutes and meeting schedules have become more structured and fewer. This has allowed them to become more flexible and efficient.
Plenty of Rest Time
In my years of working in various industries and companies, the 8 hour work shift has always been the measure or the immediate equivalent of their outputs. Truth be told that work is a never ending process, and employees have started to realize that companies should look into measuring the results rather than time spent on doing the work. Companies like Bolt who have fully embraced the four day work week realized that giving their team members plenty of rest time has positively affected their employees.
As always, communication is key. Our first step was to share our approach to “offline days.” Every Friday is to be considered an offline day which means there’s no obligation to be online—meetings aren’t held, Slack becomes quiet, and the team is not expected to respond to requests they may receive. Our corporate-wide shared calendar has been updated to reflect Friday as offline as well. - BOLT
With plenty of rest time, team members can plan and be smart with taking their paid time off benefits. Also, employees who had plenty of rest time are more present and engaged, as the longer day off has provided them more time for their family, self care and time to have their personal things get done. It is very essential for employees to recuperate and recover from a hectic week, and let's face it 2 days is sometimes not enough, I personally can attest, as I am a working parent, and rest is very vital not just for me but for all employees who are working hard.
Attract & Retain Talents
One of the best reasons why you should consider a 4 day work week is attracting and retaining talents. Let's face it, today's generation and even older generations have looked into the changing work culture that gears toward employees' well being and being able to achieve work-life balance. Companies have acknowledge that an innovative and conscious work culture is one of the keys to attract and retain talents. The pandemic has brought a big realization to employees that being overworked should not be romanticized and companies must rethink how they can make working hours and their work culture more flexible. Organizations have introduced hybrid set up and flexible work hours during the pandemic and it has been adapted since then by many organizations.
The great resignation and quiet quitting have opened eyes to employers that their employees are changing. Burn out, stress, and not enough rest time are mainly the culprits. Truth be told, working longer hours is no longer a measure of output. The definition of hard work has changed over time and employees are gearing towards a future where they can enjoy working and enjoy the other things that their job enables them to do. The work culture has to change, more and more workers and employers are teaming up to change the old work culture.
Are You Considering a Four Day Work Week?
Shifting to a four day work week is a big step, even for small companies as there are a lot of things to considered, however the goal of the 4 week work day is not all about getting into the trend but focusing on how organization can innovate and adapt to the needs of their employees. Employees are the most valuable assets we have on our organization as they keep the business running hence, if you think a four day work week can benefit them largely, then it is worth considering. Though not all industries can a apply a four day work week, it is vital also to consider at least to break the traditional burn out and stressful work culture and structure something that empowers your employees to be more productive and efficient.
At Cinemagic, we value the voice of our employees, they are part of our success hence, we are considering a four day work week and the initial survey response we have received is positive. We look forward to innovating our work culture, empowering our team and community, and of course breaking boundaries as we always look forward to progress, check out our blog content and read the pieces that our team members have written and learn more about us!