The 4 day week – does it enhance employee productivity?


16 Jan The 4 day week – does it enhance employee productivity?

Is the old adage that hard work never killed anyone? Or the longer someone works at a job, the greater the employee productivity?

But as more people push into working 50, 60, 70 hours a week, effectively turning their desks into second homes, research suggests the smarter approach might actually be to commit the ultimate American sin and work less.

Consider the research of K. Anders Ericsson, one of the top experts on the psychology of work. (His research led author Malcolm Gladwell to devise the 10,000-hour rule, the idea that experts need at least 10,000 hours of practice to master a given craft. However, Anders has since criticized the rule.)

Multiple experiments done in Ericsson’s lab have shown that people can commit themselves to only four or five hours of concentrated work at a time before they stop getting things done. Past the peak performance level, output tends to flatline, or sometimes even suffer. So much for longer hours greater employee productivity.

At CBS Interiors, their latest blog looks at the benefit of a 4 day week. Will we eventually see a much wider culture of 4-day weeks within entire companies or industries?  In the 1920s that Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, standardized the 5-day, 40-hour working week without reducing employees’ pay.

While we at Page Hardy Harris and CBS are not on a 4-day week, Phil Green at CBS has started a conversation about this approach.

A More Focused 4-Day Week? Exert from blog By Phil Green

I’ve read a number of articles recently about a 4-day week. It is proven to boost productivity and offers employees a greater work-life balance. But the logistics of implementing flexible working like this seems like quite a challenge for most companies.

As a company director, I do have the luxury of flexibility in my working habits. Fortunately, I have a fantastic team here at CBS Office Interiors who look after affairs in my absence.  Those 4 days preceding a long weekend certainly focuses the mind. I’m more aware that I need to maximise the time I’m at work so that I don’t leave unfinished business. If you’re going to have a 3-day weekend (sounds good, doesn’t it?), you can’t expect others to pick up the slack when you don’t come in on Friday.

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I’m also very conscious that clients may want to get hold of me on a day off. Generally, I’m able to manage expectations so that any client contact is completed ahead of the Friday.  However, I do take phone calls and respond to emails if necessary on a Friday if I’m having a long weekend, but would my staff do the same and could I really expect them to? I think that this is an inherent issue with a 4-day week – clients and suppliers are not necessarily on the same schedule.

This leads to another challenge for business owners: do you have sufficient staff to cover for those on a 4-day week? With a relatively small team, this may not provide enough cover especially within individual departments. The nature of our business, design and build, means that projects often run 5 or more days a week, which makes flexible working for these staff members harder to manage.

Source: click here for full article by  CBS Office Interiors

Contributor: Susie Page

Marketing & HR Director

Marketing & HR Director

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