These countries are testing the 4 days working week: the advantages and disadvantages 

Oluwatoni Olujinmi

Five days a week is the standard workweek in the majority of countries. However, the notion of a 4 days working week is gaining popularity in numerous nations and/or sectors. 

A few nations have formally established permanent 4 days working week options as of late 2022. While more than two dozen others are conducting test cases and pilot projects to investigate the viability of such a schedule.

Early research on four-day workweeks is generally showing promise since shortening the typical workweek benefits people in both hard-working and highly overworked nations by enhancing their work/life balance, reducing stress, and increasing overall happiness.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought up the discussion, with employees and employers reconsidering the need to have workplace flexibility and benefits.

4 countries testing the 4 days working week

Japan

Following the Japanese government’s announcement of a plan to improve work-life balance throughout the country, it is the larger companies that are expanding into this market in Japan.

This could benefit the nation, where the death rate from overwork is high, for a number of reasons. Overworked employees frequently get sick or develop suicidal thoughts.

Microsoft Japan, a major player in the tech industry, tried out the concept in 2019 by giving staff members three-day weekends once a month. This action increased productivity by 40% and produced more effective work.

Scotland

A four-day workweek trial was previously started in Scotland. The ruling Scottish National Party’s election pledge culminated in the decision. Despite a 20% reduction in work hours, there will be no pay cut for the employees.

The SNP will contribute £13.8 million to the program’s funding, which will total £10 million. The money will be put toward testing out the compressed workweek. A few Scottish businesses have already implemented their own shortened workweeks.

Australia 

From August 2022 to January 2023, Australia worked on a four-day working week pilot project.

Businesses from Australia and New Zealand participated in the project. Which used the 100-80-100 model with the additional goal of reducing energy and resource consumption.

The project’s industries ranged from marketing and finance to technology and mental health. And it involved 20 businesses from both countries.

New Zealand

Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, suggested two years ago that businesses take into account a four-day workweek as well as other flexible scheduling options.

Since 2018, employees at Barnes’ company Perpetual Guardian have worked four days per week. After a six-week trial found productivity had increased by 20%, they implemented the four-day week, where employees are paid the same amount for working fewer days.

Advantages of the 4 days working week

1. Employee satisfaction

Having more time to do the things you enjoy increases overall happiness and can help to increase company loyalty. It’s a win-win situation.

Having a three-day weekend leaves employees with more free time and the chance to improve their work-life balance. Not many people will object to that.

2. Cost saving

A four-day work week can help everyone save money. Offices would be closed one extra day per week, and operating costs would be significantly reduced.

Additionally, employees would pay less for commuting and would save money on day-to-day expenses such as lunch and coffee.

3. Employee effectiveness

A shorter workweek is generally justified on the grounds that contented workers are more attentive to their tasks when they are on the job.

According to the research, 78% of workers could better juggle their work and personal lives. This contrasted with 54% before the experiment.

4. Flexible work schedule

Being able to offer a more flexible work schedule is undoubtedly a benefit that keeps employees at a company in the millennial age.

According to research, 63% of businesses found it simpler to find and keep qualified employees when they worked a four-day week.

Disadvantages of the 4 days working week

The 4 days working week doesn’t work with all business models. You should think carefully about whether or not a four-day workweek is appropriate for your organization before taking the big step of adopting a new way of working.

Sadly, not all businesses can benefit from a four-day workweek schedule. It’s a choice that is only practical for businesses that can completely transform their operations to a new mode of operation.

Read also: The best companies to work for of 2022

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