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Beyond Leadership

119 EpisodesProduced by Mark KalinWebsite

Beyond Leadership is a podcast that connects the business world with academia and provides a platform for entrepreneurs, leaders, managers, students, and everyone willing to learn and share their best practices and life stories about leadership. Going Beyond.Founder and owner: Mark Kalin

4:42

Tip of the Week 35 - "How to Experiment with a 4-Day Workweek"

Lately, organizations are announcing that they are experimenting with a four-day workweek. Its employees will be working 32 rather than 40 hours per week while being expected to achieve the same productivity levels and earning the same pay. Though some recent studies on the efficacy of the four-day week have been overblown in the media, research suggests that reducing work hours can decrease employee stress and improve well-being without impacting productivity — but only when implemented effectively.

Talking about having a four-day workweek and implementing one are two different things. It can be difficult to go from the idea to a successful implementation. Here are several things to keep in mind if you want to experiment with a shorter workweek at your company:

  • Communicate. Be clear about your reasons for trying out the four-day workweek, and assure your employees that they will not be laid off, experience a pay cut, or lose out on other benefits like paid vacation. Encourage ongoing conversations about how to get more done in less time — whether that’s implementing new tools, eliminating unnecessary meetings, or making existing ones more effective.
  • Involve your employees. You’ll need their input and buy-in to make this a success. Ask them: Should we work four eight-hour days, or reduced hours on five days? Which days or hours should we take off? How can we keep the change from negatively impacting our clients, customers, and other stakeholders? What steps can we take to increase our productivity? How will we share our ideas for process improvements with one another?
  • Adjust along the way. You won’t get everything right from the start, so make it a goal to identify the tools and processes your organization needs to make reduced work hours possible. View any problems not as indicators of failure, but as opportunities to improve and fine-tune your plan.

Workplace norms have fundamentally shifted over the last year and a half. Today we find ourselves in a liminal period: We now have the chance to remake our models of work before things go back to the way they were — and that’s an opportunity leaders must not squander. While no change comes easily, leaders willing to embrace models like the four-day workweek will find the experimentation well worth the effort.

Did you ever try a four-day workweek?

How do you think you would like it and adapt o it?

Whillans, A. & Lockhart, C. (2021, Septembert). A Guide to Implementing the 4-Day Workweek. Harvard Business Review.

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