Not only can a four-day workweek mean happier employees, it turns out it can produce more efficient ones as well.
In August, Microsoft Japan piloted a month-long, four-day workweek and found that productivity jumped 40% in the office. The company closed its doors on Fridays and gave its employees a three-day weekend as part of a project to promote work-life balance. In the United States, where many full-time professionals regularly clock overtime, companies are slowly beginning to experiment with the model. Some employers that have implemented a four-day workweek have reported that their workers are more focused while in the office and better at trimming out excessive meetings and other distractions.
There are issues with the four-day workweek that are hard to remedy, however. Some companies that implemented the shorter week have since rolled it back after a trial period, finding that only four days of work made employees less available to clients and not efficient enough to justify the extra time off. Employers have also found that if workers took an extra day off in the four day workweek, that loss in time was crucial— three days, as it turns out, is just too little to get a week’s work out of the way.
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Joyce Maroney, executive director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated, a think tank that helps organizations drive performance and which published the 2018 survey “The Case for a 4-day Workweek?”
Jeff Butler, workplace strategist based in Boston, MA