I’m not the person for a four day action week. My typical week involves about 50 hours six days a week. But then I’m a workaholic, and that’s not really a good thing.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most people in the United States worked an average of 34.7 hours in 2021. So, in a way, you can argue that we are already moving towards four days. Week of action week.
Of course, it’s not really that easy. BLS numbers also include part-time staff. And these days, about 36% of the U.S. workforce in 2020 has done some work in the gig economy, according to career analysis firm GPIA.
The work is complicated.
Still, the idea of working four days a week in a work week is an interesting one.
Now, in a pilot project in the UK, thousands of employees are working four days a week without any pay cuts. This is the most significant labor test of its kind. It employs 3,300 people in 70 companies, ranging from a car parts retailer to an animation studio, marketing company and fish-and-chip shop.
It examines whether the “100-80-100” principle can work in the real world. This mysterious word means that employees get 100% pay 80% time while working with the expectation of 100% productivity.
It’s not just the British who are tinkering with this idea.
A California bill would require 40 employees, including more than 500 employees, to pay the same amount for 32 hours. The bill hasn’t moved, but it looks like it’s not dead yet – and it could be another one Legislature
Why are businesses and governments working on this idea? Well, if you don’t notice, burnout has become a real problem for businesses. In recent years, the problem has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 epidemic, economic concerns, political problems, and global tensions. The last few years have not been easy for anyone.
Some businesses have dealt with more burnouts than others.
Anyone in the health sector knows that burnout has increased in proportion to the epidemic. One of the main reasons front-line workers leave their jobs is the burnout from many rude customers.
It all adds up: constant calls, unfair treatment, heavy workload, low autonomy, poor pay and lack of social support. This is not a recipe for success.
One wonders why more people do not join The Great Regency. And, adding insult to injury, the more people leave their jobs, the heavier the burden falls on their shoulders.
So, maybe, maybe, if we keep people away from work, they will be more productive.
It could work. I’ve seen businesses that give people “break” days – say, one Friday off a month – succeed. Their people are happier and more likely to be employed – this is a big deal nowadays.
They can be more productive. A study from Stanford University found that overworked workers – not uncommon in Silicon Valley – were actually less productive than ordinary working week workers.
More hours does not mean more productivity. It never came true. And never will
I also believe that one of the reasons why working from home is so successful is that workers no longer waste time on long journeys.
They can make room for babies in their day and take the dog to the vet – whatever you have. But they are not wasting time. In addition to being more productive, they work longer hours.
It’s weird, but it is; When you get down to it, man Likes Being productive
Can people work 32 hours a week instead of 40? For some work, I’m sure they can.
We have all these new productive programs, so isn’t it time for them to prove their worth?
For example, many of us now meet through Zoom, and we no longer waste time gathering in the room, drinking a cup of coffee, or walking around with our notebooks. Instead – legs! This is us. And, once the meeting is over, we’re still at our desk.
Of course, this will not work for all.
That fish-and-chip shop, for example, will still need front-line staff, chefs, and other backyard staff. Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person.
Even production-line jobs, such as manufacturing, can do better by hiring more assembly-line workers than they do until they are exhausted.
I’ve also seen that, theoretically, people are “working” on Fridays, often they are not.
They left early; They’ve mentally checked out, whatever. I quit trying to do things on Friday. But, if our people work four-day shifts, I think we can see productivity jumps throughout the week.
Will this work? Stay tuned. We’re going to find out soon. And, if it does, it may be accepted faster than you think. Ford and GM, for example, are both closely monitoring the UK study.
Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.