By | Garima Sharma | Anusha Tomar
Microsoft Japan implemented the 4 day work week this August (as a part of an experiment), and reported a 40% increase in productivity as compared to August 2018. Microsoft closed its offices every Friday and all full-time employees were given paid leave during the closures*
It’s not just the employees who benefitted, Microsoft also found that it helped preserve electricity and office resources as well, with the electricity consumption reduced by 23% and 58.7% fewer pages printed in the company*.
Why this change?
With the structure of the workforce changing rapidly and millennials and Gen Z contributing to more than 50% of the workforce, working styles are bound to change. We have talked about how Millennials view the work-life balance and know that happiness is a priority for them. And so enter flexible working hours, work from home opportunities and 4 day work weeks.
Rapid changes in technology and the requirement to be creative and innovative had made employee engagement all the more important for organizations today. Many companies are trying to bring in initiatives like running employee engagement surveys, employee satisfaction surveys, measuring eNPS, etc to understand and identify the key drivers of engagement for their employees.
Why the 4 day work week?
With 4 day work weeks, individuals can enjoy up to 156 off days, working only 209 days a year. Employee happiness increases when the cost of childcare is reduced even by a day per week. The weekly commute becomes more bearable, promoting work-life balance. Shorter workweeks can potentially help employees stay focused on tasks and avoid distractions.
No wonder 2/3rds of the Gen Z say that opportunity for a 4 day work week influences their decision of who they want to work for. Many organizations are seriously exploring the 4 day work week. Take the case of Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand based estate planning service, which has shown a rise in employee engagement and productivity since implementing the shortened workweek. Their business didn’t suffer because the employees were paid for 5 days and were expected to produce the same amount of work. US-based software company Wildbit has considered the idea of reducing the number of working hours in a day instead of full days off.
However, it remains to be seen how these moves impact employee engagement and productivity in the long term. For some businesses, for eg., a services company, a 4 day work week might not be the best option to boost employee engagement and business outcomes. An approach towards building a happier team and gaining better employee feedback would depend on both – what your employees want as well as your business needs.
Implementing 4 day work weeks, allowing for flexible working hours and the option to work from home are all part of the many programs organizations are taking up, in order to engage their employees more.
Why invest so much in building a workforce of engaged employees?
Not only does a lower Employee Engagement score correlate to higher employee turnover, but it also points towards the fact that employees are not feeling valued and recognized in the organization, which in turn reduces their productivity. Decreased absenteeism and employee turnover, increased employee loyalty, higher productivity, etc – higher employee engagement contributes to all this, and moreover, leads to higher profitability for the organization.
Intrigued by the idea? Try implementing the 4 day work week to your organization for some months and measure the difference using our Psyft Employee Engagement Survey. Engaged employees are ready to go above and beyond core responsibilities outlined in the job description, and it is linked to critical business metrics like productivity, revenue growth, and retention.