One of the top three reasons young workers have left their jobs in the past two years is due to burnout, so why aren’t more employers taking action to combat it? With resignations at an all-time high–more than 4.27 million Americans quit their jobs in May 2022, for example– and even “quiet quitting” emerging as a new workplace phenomenon, leaders need to get creative so employees remain happy and content. Enter: the four-day workweek.
Let’s be honest, the four-day workweek isn’t a fit for every company. However, if planned for properly, this model can enhance camaraderie among teammates and even drive increased revenue and applications. But before jumping the gun to implement a new structure, leaders need to take a step back and consider whether or not the four-day workweek is right for their organization.
Below are the five major steps to implementing a successful four-day workweek trial:
Weigh the pros and cons
A number of factors should be considered prior to making the transition. How will employees and stakeholders respond? Can your team produce the same or a better quality of service? Will customer satisfaction remain the same or improve? 63 percent of businesses (including ours) have found that a four-day week is increasing applications and making existing employees happier, more productive and less stressed.
Reflect upon the nuances of your industry. A more traditionally structured corporation will have an easier time implementing this approach compared to the hospitality, medical or construction industries, where services can be required at all hours.
Determine how you’ll measure success
Identify your business goals and how you’ll measure them. Are you hoping to increase productivity by a certain percent, attract and retain talent, stoke innovation? Monthly employee surveys, 1:1 interviews, productivity dashboards and tracking customer service response times are a few ways to benchmark your goals.
Identify and address obstacles ahead of time
Holidays, events, corporate travel and PTO all throw a wrench in a four-day workweek. Remain flexible during those weeks and shift your workweek to Tuesday through Friday instead of Monday through Thursday if needed. The occasional “normal” two-day weekend will make your team appreciate the three-day weekends.
Meetings take up a lot of time in the day, so how will you help give employees that time back to focus on the work that needs to be done? Teams should reduce recurring meetings, combine touch bases, or send email updates instead of meeting to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. Take a hard look at your company culture and make adjustments accordingly.
Be an exemplary leader
Set a good example for your team. Hold yourself accountable for taking Fridays off or schedule messages to go out on Monday. When you hire people you trust, the work will get done. It’s shown that allowing your team to recharge drives a better outlook on life, making them more productive at work and motivated to achieve their goals.
Reframe your thinking around the idea that “the harder (i.e., more) you work, the luckier you get.” Getting endless hours of work done versus putting out quality work are not the same. Even if you’re a person who gets a lot of energy out of your job, rejuvenation is the key to showing up ready to solve difficult problems.
Give yourself ample time
While a three- or six-month trial sounds long, in reality, it may not be enough time to test the waters. For industries with seasonal imbalances, like retail, a full calendar year is a good benchmark to ensure a well-rounded perspective of goals achieved.
Our team continues to remain driven, producing results like I’ve never seen before in a shortened week. Most importantly, their levels of satisfaction are through the roof. Now more than ever is the time to listen to your employees’ needs, and when the proper considerations are taken into account, a four-day workweek could be one of the best decisions for the success of your business.