Everyone loves a long weekend. But what if it became the norm for workplaces across the world?
People have long theorized that a shorter workweek would be better for mental health and well-being. A shorter workweek lets you rest more, fit in your appointments, and leave room for hobbies, all of which boost work-life balance.
Today, many organizations are testing this theory—is a four-day workweek realistic? Can it be successful?
The data seems to indicate that it can.
In this case, we’ll explain the case for a four-day workweek and how flexible workspaces might play a role in its success.
Putting Four-Day Workweeks to the Test: Research Findings
Data shows us that four-day workweeks aren’t only possible, but beneficial.
Nonprofit organization, 4 Day Week, recently released the findings of their international study on 33 companies. Each organization adopted a 100-80-100 model—100% pay, 80% time, and 100% output.
The distinction here is that employees are receiving their full salary and are expected to produce the same results in less time. This is unlike other models that simply may increase the hours in a day (i.e., four 10-hour days), or reduce pay for time off.
The 100-80-100 model was an overall success.
Study results state that employers ranked the following on a scale from 0-10 (very negative to very good):
- 9.0 for the trial as a whole.
- 7.6 for how the overall company performance was affected.
- 7.7 for employee productivity.
Employees were equally enthusiastic about the study: they averaged 9.1/10 for the trial as a whole, and 97% said they wanted to continue on the schedule.
Further, general well-being increased over the course of the study, while anxiety and fatigue decreased.
Other studies support the benefits of a four-day workweek:
- A study of 2,500 workers in Iceland was so successful that over the years since, 86% of Iceland’s entire workforce has moved to shorter hours, or have the right to do so.
- Microsoft’s four-day workweek trial in Japan resulted in a 40% productivity boost.
The research is pointing to such strong benefits that many companies are trying it for themselves—200+ of them can be found here, if you’d like to check some out.
Benefits and Challenges of a Four-Day Workweek
Looking through these findings, we see there are four key benefits to reducing work hours for employees in a week:
- Increased productivity
- Reduced stress anxiety, stress, and burnout
- Better employee engagement
- Stronger employee attraction and retention
But these benefits aren’t guaranteed by simply eliminating one work day.
If employees are expected to meet the same outcomes, there needs to be a deliberate effort to ensure it’s possible.
A successful 100-80-100 workweek model is contingent on finding effective and efficient solutions, including eliminating low-productivity tasks to free up more time for important activities.
If nothing changes in the workplace except fewer hours to do the same work, employees can actually feel more anxious. So, it’s essential that managers set their employees up for success—let’s look at how to do it.
3 Ways to Successfully Implement a Four-Day Workweek
Choose the Right Workspace
To be productive, you need to be in the right workspace. Despite its popularity, working from home isn’t always optimal. Personal tasks are distracting and it’s more difficult to productively communicate with colleagues.
But on the other hand, most employees aren’t ready to be back in the office full-time.
Employers trying out a four-day workweek are also unlikely to pay full-time rent when it’s simply not needed.
A key solution here is flexible workspaces. There are many advantages of coworking spaces because they’re designed for focus and productivity while providing everything a professional needs to get to work.
Here are three reasons why a flexible workspace can support a four-day workweek:
- Spatial diversity: Flexible offices offer spatial diversity so your team can optimize their productivity. If you rent a private office in a coworking space here at Launch, you have a secure space for just your team as well as access to community areas such as our kitchens, lounges, meeting areas, phone booths, and more.
- Flexibility: Unlike standard office space rental contracts, flexible workspaces offer short-term leases that are customizable to your needs. This allows you to scale up or down as the needs of your team change. You may also choose to purchase coworking memberships for your team—the ultimate flexible arrangement where they can come and go as they please, choosing any available space in the common area to get to work.
- Amenities and services: Flexible workspaces offer more than just desks and chairs. All-inclusive membership here at Launch, for example, gives you access to amenities and services like printing, scanning, refreshments, community events, wellness initiatives, and on-site support. We also offer virtual office services support for those who need it.
Foster Productive Collaboration and Communication
Further on the theme of increasing productivity is the need for effective communication. If you want employees to do the same work in less time, there’s no time for meetings that could have been an email or inefficient software programs.
There are two key ways to ensure effective communication:
- Fostering in-person collaboration: Remote communication isn’t always effective, so make sure you have access to in-person spaces for your team. Bookable meeting rooms in a coworking space are great for one-off meetings or choose a private office for something more regular.
- Choosing the right technology: Better collaboration doesn’t mean more technology or apps, but choosing the right ones. Audit what’s currently in use and determine if you need to switch things up to foster better communication. We’ve compiled a list of must-use tools that can help you select the right options for your team.
Reorganize Your Work
The final way to optimize productivity is to re-think how your company and team approach work.
Spend some time analyzing the typical tasks and activities you do—are they adding value in comparison to the time they take? Get serious about any potential changes to job descriptions or expectations that can help streamline operations.
One effective way to do this is to use President Eisenhower’s famous prioritization matrix. It breaks tasks into four categories with corresponding responses:
- Urgent and important—do it now.
- Not urgent, but important—schedule it for another time.
- Urgent but not important—delegate it to someone else or use automation to eliminate it.
- Not urgent and not important—delete it.
This will help you organize work to be as efficient as possible while clearly communicating priorities with your employees. If you’re interested in more productivity hacks, check out our article on 6 time management tools and techniques.
And because employees have another day off in the week to attend to personal matters, they are better able to focus on core tasks throughout their four-day work week.
When implemented intentionally, a four-day workweek has the potential to transform your business through increased productivity, happier employees, and better work-life balance all around.
If you’re looking for a workspace that helps you and your team streamline your workflows and maximize your time in the office, book a tour of your local Launch Workplace today.