It was recently reported that Microsoft Japan experimented with a 4-day workweek in an effort to improve work-life balance. This move led to a 40% boost in productivity, and 90% of their employees said that they preferred the shorter week (no surprises there). And they’re not the first to do so. In Europe, the shorter workweek is becoming more and more commonplace; the average weekly work time in the Netherlands is around 29 hours.
Even with the mounting evidence supporting shorter work hours, HR may still need a bit more convincing. Here are the main points you need to drive home as you make your case.
It increases productivity
As Microsoft Japan’s example illustrates, shortening the workweek doesn’t necessarily result in less productivity. And they aren’t the only company For many companies, employees are working 40-hour weeks or more not because the company absolutely needs it, but only because they don’t have much of a choice (i.e. working less hours results in docked pay).
When this is the case, decreasing hours without decreasing pay shouldn’t negatively affect the company’s bottom line. Employees are happier and less stressed, which means they produce more. Everybody wins!
It makes teams closer
When teams have less workdays, that means they can’t afford to waste time on unimportant squabbles. Why bother with all that nonsense when you can collaborate to get the job done quicker?
It boosts innovation
Having less hours in a workweek keeps you on your toes. It can be a lot of pressure, but it can also encourage employees to come up with time-saving hacks, such as better practices that increase productivity.
It improves employees’ health
We all know that stress and burnout are no good for the health. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that multiple companies have observed that shorter workweeks result in less sick days and an overall increase in wellbeing.
It’s good for the environment
If your company is big on sustainability, shortening the workweek is another way for them to put their money where their mouth is. A four-day workweek means one day less of commuting and consuming office resources, resulting in less greenhouse gas emissions.
It cuts down overhead expenses
Companies that cut down the workweek improve their bottom line not just through the increased productivity, but also through the decreased cost. Microsoft Japan observed a 58.7% decrease in number of pages printed, and a 23.1% decrease in electricity consumption.
It attracts quality employees
Studies have found that Millennials and Gen Z value work flexibility highly, not necessarily just to relax, but also to pursue other endeavors, such as volunteering, upskilling, and working on their side hustles. In a survey conducted by Harvard Business School, around 67% of Gen Z respondents said that a four-day workweek would make them more likely to join a company.
It retains top talent
Shorter work hours doesn’t just attract talent, but keeps them. Companies that clearly value their employees’ work-life balance tend to have more loyal and engaged workers.
Do you think the four-day workweek could work for your company? Share your thoughts in the comments below!