Does a 4-day work week make good business sense?
Having three weeks consisting of four working days has gotten Kipp comfortable and curious. Can a four day working week really work?
November 14, 2012 5:35 by Eva Fernandes
We don’t know about you but here at the Kipp headquarters’ there has been a bit of excitement all of today. The cause? The nearing promise of a long weekend.
We probably shouldn’t be as excited given the few three/four day weekends we have had this quarter on account of religious public holidays, but we still are. At the end of the day the opportunity of having an extra day to oneself is exhilarating and it really does affect the way you feel and behave at work. In fact it is such a morale booster, we can’t help but wonder whether companies can run on a four day/week on a regular basis.
Jason Fried, co-founder and CEO of 37signals, a software company (of course), certainly thinks so. He instilled a four day week during the months of May to October in his company after working traditional hours for 13 years. Since then, he says he sees a significant improvement in his staff.
“There’s one surprising effect of the changed schedule: better work gets done in four days than in five. When there’s less time to work, you waste less time. When you have a compressed workweek, you tend to focus on what’s important. Constraining time encourages quality time” Fried told the New York Times.
But 37Signals is not an isolated case. In fact studies have shown that a four day working week can increase productivity and raise morale.
When professors Lori Wadsworth and Rex Facer, from the Romney Institute of Public Management, studies the employees of Spanish Fork City who had just recently made the switch to a four day week in 2004, the y found the results to be very positive indeed. Not only did the research show 60 percent of employees claimed to be more productive, but the study found 60 percent of their customers reported receiving better service.
It is all very well to advocate for shorter working hours from the perspective of the employee. But what about the organization—can a company manage with shorter working hours, let alone benefit from such a program?
Jay Love, CEO of Slingshot SEO, says having a four day work week culture is likely to attract the brightest minds and plays a major factor in staff retention. In addition, there is anecdotal evidence that employees who work four day weeks tend to take less days of vacation off because they feel they have a lot of personal time.