A relatively new concept in business is the idea of a “4 day work week.” While it may seem radical, companies worldwide are beginning to adapt and implement this augmented working schedule and are seeing results. One of those companies is Ippon Australia.
Ippon is a technology consulting firm with over 450 clients worldwide. They create digital products with a focus on the practices of customer experiences, software engineering with cloud, and data-driven architectures. The consulting industry is notorious for long hours and hard work.
Yet, Ippon Australia has found a way to implement a 4-day work week for employees. Many of their staff work with Ippon customers for four days and then enjoy a three-day weekend. Ippon came up with this idea by searching for passionate people in their industry.
Since all companies are looking for and recruiting passionate people, Ippon decided they wanted to search differently. To show that their culture valued a passionate person’s time, they offered the ability to work a 4-day work week to their recruits. The idea was that the shorter work week allows passionate people to live balanced lives and the passion they bring to Ippon.
Ippon has seen great results both from customers and employees. Their example contributes to a larger conversation about a more regular 4 day work week for all workers worldwide.
The 4 Day Work Week
Both advancements in technology and concern for employee health have contributed to a steady decrease in standard work hours since the 19th century. With AI and other automation forms on the rise, there is more potential for workforces to work even shorter hours. A 4 Day Work Week means employees will work about 28 hours over four days and then have a three-day weekend.
Benefits of a Four Day Work Week
Studies show that this system has effective results for helping employees be more productive and feel more satisfaction at work. While it comes with its challenges, the 4-day work week companies say that there are many benefits.
The company Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand conducted a study with a 4 day work week. They found their employees maintained the standard productivity level and improved job satisfaction, teamwork, and company loyalty. Employees indicated they felt between 38%-45% less stressed.
Increased Employee Engagement
There are also 4-day work companies who say their new system leads to happier and more committed employees. With a shorter work week, employees were less likely to be overworked or take sick leaves. The three-day weekend allowed them more time to rest, recover, and then be ready to return to work the next week.
Though the concept of the 4 day work week is relatively new to some countries, some of the most productive countries in the world have already adopted this new system.
Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany have workforces that are operating around 27 hours per week. These nations are among the most productive in the world. Compare their results to a country like Japan, which is notorious for overworking employees. Japan places 20th out of 35 countries for production.
With the most productive nations adopting a 4 day work week style through their hours, other countries need to notice and begin the conversation about how they can perform better. Though there are promising results for this new system, the 4 day work week does come with its challenges.
Challenges of the Four Day Work Week
There are no perfect systems. A shorter work week comes with a few challenges that 4-day work week companies need to address if the system is going to be successful.
Some companies mistake the 4-day work week be a compressed schedule. They implement a system where workers have the same 35-40 hours a week but only on four days. That means employees are working longer shifts than expected and have a three-day weekend.
This system creates less productivity. Workers are more stressed when they have longer and later hours. The results of this system will backfire. So, employers and leaders need to understand how to approach a 4-day work week and then implement it properly.
Culture and Support
Changing the culture in any company will be difficult. Though everyone would love to have one less day to work, the company has to be ready for the cost of a 4 day schedule. A company needs to be able to stay afloat with the reduced working hours. Budgeting, finances, and human resources need preparation so the company will be able to support the change.
Results also show that specific industries are less capable of 4-day work weeks. In one case, when a government services company tried a 4 day work week schedule, customers complained about the inconvenience of unavailable government services on a Friday.
When a business wants to implement this system, they will need to consider the services they render and how it will affect their current customers. Some businesses are less capable of shifting to a shorter schedule based on their customer base and services.
Artificial Intelligence, along with new technology, continues to affect every industry. Since these assets generally make operations faster, there is an overarching agreement that they will help make shorter working hours for all workforces. Remote work and automated systems also contribute to the idea that employees can do their work from home and in less time.
As businesses look forward, the idea of having a 4 day work week is becoming more and more possible. Experts predict that the 4 day work week will be a normal working schedule within this century.
Everyone wants more fulfilled lives. At Ippon Australia, they found that being empathetic to their passionate workers could create a culture that supports people living with more balance outside of work. The conversation of the 4 day work week and hopefully its regularity will continue to grow in the next years. People can enjoy shorter work weeks and have a life outside of their offices.