A summer experiment that took place at the Japanese headquarters for Microsoft has proponents of shorter workweeks excited. The office closed down each Friday during the summer and experienced a 40 percent increase in worker productivity despite once less day of work.
The thought is a four day work week can possibly benefit other companies as much as Microsoft and would provide some parents with more flexibility to better take care of responsibilities at home.
A similar experiment was conducted by A New Zealand company that deals with wills and trusts in 2018. The company continued to pay employees for 40 hours of work per week despite decreasing the amount of time they are required to work by 20 percent to 32 hours a week. The experiment showed there was no drop in productivity when employees were allowed to work fewer hours but there were great benefits to worker happiness and morale. Employees of the company in New Zealand reported feeling more satisfied with their job, less overall stress in their lives, and a better balance between their home and work life.
Economists and social scientists have attempted to drive home the point for years that less could be more when it comes to the number of hours an employee spends at work.
The benefits of a shorter workweek don’t stop with employees. The environment would benefit by enduring fewer commuters to and from work each day. There would also be fewer energy needs for businesses that cut the hours of their employees.
Eddy Ng is a management professor at Bucknell University. Ng expressed his desire to see the four-day workweek become the norm for many businesses. The management professor says not only is productivity protected or increased when the hours for employees are reduced, but employees are proven to enjoy better mental and emotional health.
There is some debate as to how much this solution would help parents if a four-day workweek meant they would have to work longer hours over those four days. The concern is that the extra hours could interfere with child pickups and rides to and from daycare.
The four-day workweek is likely not a solution that can be administered in one manner for the benefit of all. However, supporters say it can be a central theme to an improved work culture in America. Experts say the obvious need for rebalancing the work-life equation for American workers is obvious and workers now need companies who are willing to step up and make a change.
The four-day weekend is just one aspect of the flexibility the American employer needs to show, says one expert on work culture in America. Parents need more opportunities for flexible schedules, as well as, understanding from both coworkers and supervisors. The understanding and flexibility needed can only be spearheaded from the top ranks of any company.
The understanding and flexibility needed by parents must be in place no matter how many days each week they are required to report to work.