Mention a shorter work week to anyone within earshot and no doubt you'll hear a resounding "Amen!" 1 in 9 Americans work 50+ hours per week as per The Center for a New American Dream. Compare that to 1 in 81 in Sweden and 1 in 152 in the Netherlands and it's no wonder so many of us are stressed-out and exhausted.
Working fewer days per week is not just something to dream about while you ought to be filing reports and crunching numbers. There are already employers switching to a 4-day work week model and others thinking about doing so. Why? The benefits are powerful and enhance the lives of employees and their employers as well.
A shorter work week is valuable to take into consideration if you're the boss and something to bring to the table with these 3 benefits to back you up if you'd like your company to take this notion seriously. 3 day weekend… here we come!
Better for Overall Health
When we're overworked, tired, and stressed, health inevitably takes a toll. As per Healthline, "Numerous reports and studies have shown that the expected pace put upon the U.S. workforce is to blame for many health issues that plague adults today. These include sleep issues, obesity, and an overall weakened immune system. Cut back the work week by a day, and we could see significant improvements in our physical and mental health."
With health issues like these so prevalent in our work-centric society, people are taking more and more sick days, or come into the office when they're not at their mental or physical best. Time isn't of value if the employee isn't able to produce as well as they want or are able to. This can lead to even more stress, creating bodily illness and mental strain – a vicious cycle.
That cherished extra day of free time clears the mind and allows the body to recuperate. Employees will have the chance to focus on themselves for 24 more hours so that while they're at work, they can give their all to the job at hand.
Even though the employee will be spending fewer days at the office, it's been shown that their work effort and output is actually higher with a 4-day work week. As per Joseph Chris Driving Business Connections, "Employees return to work more refreshed after a 3-day weekend. They even make it a point to work very hard during the compressed week, so that they will not lose the privilege of a four day work week system. When staff is pumped up to go back to work, they tend to be more productive. This results in more output and higher company revenue."
Employees appreciate this benefit and are more inclined to be sure everything is complete and done well so they can take full advantage of this arrangement. They are happier and more willing to work together to keep the system in place. This is a win-win for the employee and the higher-ups.
Plus, with this 4-day work week program, each day will include more hours in the office to compensate for the missed day. Therefore, as per WiseStep, "Because employees spend continuous hours at work, they do not miss the flow of work or get distracted to leave for home. They get enough time to complete the task in the same day rather than passing it off to the next day. 10-11 hours of work (per day) motivates the employee to finish the task the same day with full concentration."
Enhanced Work – Life Balance
Naturally, a 4-day work week allows for a better work – life balance. People can spend more time with their families and doing things they enjoy such as hobbies, exercise, and vacationing outside the office. As per The Center for a New American Dream, 59% of employees say their jobs do not leave them with enough time for themselves and 75% feel they do not have enough time with their kids. A 4-day work week system would surely change these percentages for the better.
Although you may get home later or need to head into work a bit earlier on the 4 work days, an entire full day of free time more than makes up for it. No interruptions and no work worries. Joseph Chris notes, "(A 3-day weekend) gives employees more relaxation time with family and friends, and whatever errands they were unable to do during the work week they can accomplish during the weekends. If anyone wants to escape the fast-paced life even just for a while, 3 days would be enough time to unwind and rejuvenate."
As far as the employer's benefit, Nevada Small Business notes, "You're likely to attract more highly qualified new hires who view the four-day week as a major lifestyle benefit. Plus, because of the longer work day, employees miss the standard morning rush hour, getting to work early and staying later. Less time in traffic – a big plus."