July 2, 2022

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Unexpected effects of 4-day work week | Competitions and employment

He works in public relations in London, and his new work schedule has forced him to better organize his time.

He was able to meet his deadline, keep his tasks on schedule, and work extra days each week. And, most importantly, he was recently a father and was able to spend more time with his son.

His rest day varies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. But in the always-running environment, he had to be more for urgent needs in his spare time and worked overtime on other days to make up for it.

According to ComCos, “the line between home and work has become blurred.” “On Sunday night, I do my chores and divide my time as much as I can.” But he says all of these compensations are worth it.

“I’m glad I was able to spend more time with my son, otherwise it’s not possible. And the financial crisis has eased: I was able to save கூடுதல் 400 (R $ 2,500) a month just for that extra day at home. Nursery.”

But some old members of his team were not very happy with this method of work because they liked the regular schedule. “I thought I was doing well, but my manager didn’t feel the same way,” Comcos said. “Professionally, they see me less, so they thought I was less productive.”

Without getting clear ideas, it is not clear where he really is. Six months later, ComCos had a chance to be promoted, but on one condition: he would have to resume the schedule five days a week.

Since the epidemic brought about unprecedented changes in the work world, there has been a lot of discussion about the four-day work week. It is said to be a panacea for fatigue and work stress, and even companies and governments are experimenting with this idea. Further initial results indicate potential benefits, including better work-life balance and increased well-being, without compromising employee productivity.

But even if a workday is removed from the calendar, in many cases the workload will remain the same. Faced with a more rigorous schedule, workers often have to adapt to new practices and increased working hours.

The evolution of the four-day work week

Discussions about the length of the work week are nothing new. As early as 1926, Ford Motor Company standardized the week from Monday to Friday. Six days in the previous practice week, resting only on Sundays.

“Five days is Henry Ford’s theory [de trabalho]For the same pay, people working harder during the shorter working week will increase labor productivity, ”says Jim Harter, chief scientist at Workplace Management and Health at the Poll Institute, based in Gallup, Nebraska.

To a large extent, Ford’s theory has proven to be correct. In the decades that followed, the five-day work week became the norm.

But in the 1950s, there were calls from trade unions to introduce a four-day week. According to Hartter, “People began to imagine that it would be even better if it took another day of the week.

A Gallup survey of more than 10,000 full-time U.S. employers in March 2020 showed that only 5% accepted shorter working weeks. Until the epidemic some leaders reconsidered the issue, the acceptance of the four-day work week was sluggish, generating tremendous growth in the number of attempts and announcements to reduce the work week.

“Recent job changes have accelerated the four-day movement,” said Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, project director for 4 Day Week Global, based in California.

According to him, “Epidemic has made it clear that we can drastically change the way we work. [a tendência que levou um número recorde de trabalhadores norte-americanos a deixar seus empregos durante a pandemia de covid-19] Companies were looking for new recruitment and retention tools [de funcionários]. ”

There are different models of the four-day work week, ranging from eliminating one working day, reducing the time and offering the same pay, to five days of work divided into four long shifts.

The goal achieved by the combination of new tools and operational practices is often the first scenario, which increases efficiency and results in greater labor well-being, fueling productivity. But if functional changes are not carefully planned, there is a great risk of a second situation occurring.

“One common mistake is for a company to say,‘ Let’s start on Monday and define when to go, ’” Pang says. “It could create big problems on the road.”

How does five days work fit into four?

According to Jennifer Shepherd, the move for a shorter work week is “transformation”. Its Durham, UK-based company – fintech Atom – introduced a four-day work week in November 2021 to its 430 employees.

“Friday is now a special day that I spend with my one-year-old daughter,” she says.

Andy Illingworth of Leeds has been working four days a week for the first week of Punch Creative 2020, a UK-based design agency, and highly appreciates his extra vacation. “Friday afternoon was not historically very productive,” he says.

“Now on Fridays I can explore my hobbies, play tennis and go for long walks. I have more time to come up with ideas and techniques to present on Monday morning. I do not want to go to work week. Five days,” says Illingworth.

But Illingworth and Shepherd know that getting all the work done in four days instead of five will come at a cost. Illingworth’s mandatory work schedule is now more than 90 minutes each day from Monday to Thursday.

“I work from 8am to 5pm with a 30-minute lunch break,” he explains. “We need to halve lunch time. But I feel more refreshed, more focused, more productive, working four days.”

Shepard, on the other hand, adapts to a more intense work pace. “There are still times when I panic on Thursday afternoon, just remember I don’t have another day at work to finish everything,” he says. “But now I’m using my time very efficiently. I can work when I’m comfortable.

The Gallup poll found positive and negative impacts of a short work week. Lack of commitment as employee well-being increases and fatigue decreases during the four-day week. Workers who already feel disconnected from the company are more likely to leave if they work fewer days.

Some employees may resist the shortened week imposed by their employer, which may include longer working hours and shorter breaks. Others may already be working at full speed, which means that a shorter work week can have an impact on managing your workload.

According to Harder, “there are employees who try to absorb more work in four days, before which there was more flexibility to work five days.” “Coming Thursday afternoon without finishing your work while everyone else is going home can be stressful and frustrating.”

But Illingworth believes these “minor adaptation problems” can be fixed over time. “There is a dynamic situation in our workplace,” he says. “Running to finish work on a Thursday afternoon doesn’t happen often.”

The importance of operational planning

These days, many companies are looking for new ways to attract and retain great talent.

According to a recent survey of 4,000 workers in the United States, 83% of them want a four-day week. This raises the possibility of companies rushing to a shorter work week, imagining significant policy changes in a hurry.

But instead of pressuring employees to work fast for fewer days, Pang warns that careful planning and preparation are key to making the work model consistent.

“I don’t know of many companies that succeed without radically changing their day-to-day operations,” he says. “It is very important to design a short working week that is fair to everyone from executives to leading employees.”

Harder said a personalized work model for each employee – which includes a shorter work week – might be a better solution than imposing a four-day standard on the entire staff.

“A four-day work week may be the answer for some, but flexible work is a desire of most workers that brings greater commitment and well-being and fits into the modern workplace.”

Camgöz eventually accepted the promotion and returned to the five-day work week schedule, but wants to resume the four-day work week in the future – Shepard and Illingworth’s uncompromising work schedule. But they have all found that implementing a new working model can have consequences such as longer working days, more stress on Thursdays or worries about what their employers think.

In Camgöz’s case, he realized that in order for the project to work, it needed to be more aligned between its goals, workplace culture and the personalities of the people involved.

“The initial decision to give me a four-day work week was made with good intentions, but it shows that it takes a lot of thought to make those decisions,” he said. “In this case, it might not have happened.”