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Four-Day Workweeks

Four-Day Workweeks

By MarkD

“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” – Peter Drucker, management consultant

Just when you were getting used to video conferencing and remote / hybrid work, a new idea is being seriously tossed around.   That idea is the four-day workweek.  While it was (and still is) a tough pill to swallow, not only do most workers want remote / hybrid work, they are happier and more productive and efficient working that way.  That efficiency has prompted another question: if I can do the work I need to do in four days . . . . why can’t I?  We’re not necessarily advocating for a four-day workweek implementation right now.  But remember when you thought remote work was a fad?  This could be the start of something that grows more and more in demand.  Your ERP Implementation Consultant is most likely back to pre-install visits and post go-live visits to your client, but their work is being done remotely.  Do you need your Sage Intacct Accountant on site 5 days a week?  What about your Acumatica Project Manager?  So let’s talk about four-day workweeks.

Quiet Quitting

On the heels of “The Great Resignation” over the last couple years, a new term emerged that I want to address.  “Quiet Quitting.”  Some are tracing this fairly new phenomenon to Brian Creely, a career coach who posted on TikTok.  His headline read “Fed up with long hours, many employees have quietly decided to take it easy at work rather than quit their jobs.” He’s actually got a lot of great advice about hiring, interviewing, and recruiting.  But this one has taken on a life of its own. 

Employers are now using the term “Quiet Quitting” to describe workers who are not going above and beyond, who are not exceeding expectations.  They are painting a negative picture of workers for not coming in early or staying late.  In other words, they are being ostracized for doing the job they’re being paid to do.  

Let’s say you really wanted to fly from Seattle to Los Angeles, but you only bought a ticket to San Francisco. Would you get upset at the airline for not taking you to LA?  What if you wanted to stay at a hotel for 3 nights, but only purchased 2. Is it then the hotel’s fault for not just giving you a 3rd?  If you are expecting your employees to do more than their job description lays out, you better be prepared to pay them for the extra work.  If you don’t, some other company will.  And, if you’re wondering what mid-market ERP Salaries will look like in 2023, we just released our 8th Edition Salary Guide.

Remote / Hybrid Work

In 2018, before the start of the pandemic, less than 6% of the American workforce was working remotely.  That number skyrocketed to over 41% in 2020.  Currently, just over a quarter are working remotely.  That’s a pretty big number, but according to Zippia, 68% of workers would prefer to be fully remote. Employees are happier and more productive.  Employers are noticing fewer absences and fewer sick days being used.  And 74% of workers have said they are less likely to leave a company that offers remote work opportunities.  If you are struggling to fill vacancies in your workforce and you are not allowing remote or hybrid work opportunities, all signs point to that being an even bigger challenge as time goes on.

Four-Day Workweek

Is this really a thing?  This can’t really be something people are seriously considering, right?  Well, there’s a lot of information out there to say you better start thinking about it.  I just told you that 68% of workers would prefer a remote work opportunity.  That’s a lot.  According to 4dayweek.com, 85% of U.S. adults already approve of moving to a four-day workweek. 

4 Day Week Global conducted a massive experiment with 33 companies employing nearly 1000 employees over 6 months.  The employers committed to allowing them to work 32 hours for the same pay and benefits.  The employees committed to getting their 40 hour work loads done in 32 hours.  And the results are in.

The companies who were surveyed gave an overall satisfaction score of 9 out of 10 with the four-day work week program.  The employees gave it a 9.1.  18 of the companies are definitely going to continue with a four-day work week.  7 others are planning to continue.  Of the nearly 500 employees who completed initial and endpoint surveys, 96.9% wanted to continue the trial.

During the 6 month trial, revenue increased 8.14% and 12.16% more employees were hired.  Also, revenue was up 37.55% over last year’s same 6 month period.  And one of the things we like talking about is employee retention.  Of the employees who filled out the survey, 42% said they would consider leaving the company for a 5-day workweek if they were given between a 26% to 50% increase in salary.  That’s a pretty solid statement of how valuable employees’ time is to them.  

Who’s Doing It?

The same group has just launched an even larger trial.  This one consists of 70 companies and about 3,300 employees in the UK.  Scotland and Wales are considering trying the experiment in their countries.  Spain launched a trial in December.  

After a long, successful trial in Iceland between 2015 and 2019, 90% of the working population now works reduced hours.  Belgian employees have the option of working 4 or 5 day workweeks (with the stipulation that the same amount of work must get done).  While the results were also positive from a 2015 test in Sweden, the country did not embrace the shorter workweek.  However, several companies choose to keep it at their business.  Germany, New Zealand, Japan are also exploring the phenomenon.  

Closer to Home

And 38 companies in North America participated in a trial.  According to a survey from Qualtrics, 92% of US workers are in favor of the idea.  Some companies have already implemented it and are raving about the results.  Employee retention is up, revenue is up, productivity is up, and employees are happier.

Just like remote / hybrid work was just a few years ago, 4-day workweeks aren’t here yet.  But all signs say they’re coming.  ERP Implementation Consultants, Acumatica Project Managers, Sage Intacct Accountants, Avalara Sales Executives alike have spent the last few years re-evaluating what is most important to them.  If employee retention and staying ahead of the competition with work benefits is one of your priorities in 2023, you might want to start looking at a four day workweek.

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