Shifting To A Four-Day Workweek? Here’s What You Need To Keep In Mind

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While convention has dictated that employees must work five days a week, that could soon change. Recent findings from a global study of a four-day workweek reported an increase in both employee productivity and company revenue—and some early adopters are already reaping the benefits.

Before making any changes to the calendar, however, it’s important for business leaders to understand the potential impacts of a new schedule and prepare accordingly. To help, the members of Forbes Business Council share 15 considerations to keep in mind when contemplating the shift to a four-day workweek.

1. Acknowledge Work-Life Balance And Operational Impacts

While a four-day workweek has the potential to bring benefits to employees and companies, it’s important for entrepreneurs to carefully consider the potential impacts on work-life balance and business operations before making the change. By carefully planning and communicating with employees, a business leader can ensure that a four-day workweek is successful and sustainable for all stakeholders. – R. Kenner

2. Know Your Team’s Self-Management Skills

One day less also means fewer opportunities to manage the team hands-on. That’s not a bad thing, but think about where your team is concerning self-management. A newly-assembled team just going through the “storming” phase will need more guidance than a team that has found its groove. Regular, brief check-ins always help, especially when switching to a new work schedule. – Markus FinsterMyExpatTaxes

3. Decrease Meetings

When shifting to a four-day workweek, don’t let that change mean that your employees have their four days stacked with more meetings. This will leave less time to “get the job done.” Be mindful that if you make that change, be prepared to decrease the number of meetings by at least 25%. – Heather OdendaalWNORTH

4. Be Careful If You’re Consumer-Facing

The four-day workweek has been discussed many times over. The issue we have is the end consumer not being a four-day-a-week individual. In the modern age, our customers want on-demand access to us. They want prompt communication and delivery, which would be hard on a reduced working week. Certain sectors will adjust well to this—but consumer-facing businesses need to be careful. – Nilesh ParmarNP Collective

5. Examine Employees’ Perception Of Time

If a business leader is contemplating a shift to a four-day workweek, one thing they should consider is employee productivity. While a shorter workweek may result in increased efficiency and better work-life balance for employees, it could also lead to decreased productivity if employees feel they have less time to complete their work. – Jake HareLaunchpeer

6. Understand The Limits Of Early Adoption

I would shift to a four-day workweek tomorrow if my clients adopted it. The one thing that has to be kept in perspective is your customer. In the services industry, if the client works five days per week, so do we. Until it is widely adopted, the four-day workweek is going to see limited success. – Joe CrandallGreencastle Associates Consulting

7. Stagger Days Off

There are multiple ways to do four-day workweeks, so there is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all strategy. For example, your company can have a four-day workweek where it is the same third day off for the whole company, or people can have different days off. Ultimately, you need to consider what would work best for your company. – Josh ThompsonThompson Exterior Services

8. Ensure You Can Meet Clients’ Needs

If you’re thinking about switching to a four-day workweek, make sure to consider how it could impact your customers or clients. You’ll want to ensure that you can still meet their needs while implementing the change. This might involve adjusting your operations or communicating any changes to them in advance. – Dustin LemickBriteCo

9. Change Your Culture Accordingly

Finland is a frontrunner with the four-day workweek, and many companies have tested and still use that method. One of the most important aspects to understand is that it actually means that the team is off for three days a week. It is important to keep track of time and change the culture of internal meetings and calls to the new approach. People are more efficient, so don’t waste time in vain. – Aslak de SilvaSelfly Store

10. Understand Your Specific People And Systems

It’s not the number of hours you work that makes the difference, it’s the quality of the work you do during those hours. There is no “one system for all.” Understand the specific people and systems you have. Successful shorter workweek programs often involve people who use time better by eliminating distractions and using time off to recharge their creative juices. Make the decision collaboratively! – Jerry CahnAge Brilliantly

11. Think About Outcomes Versus Input

Many leaders want to align benefits and compensation with input—how many hours worked. A member of our leadership team went to a four-day workweek, and we didn’t change a thing besides their calendar. They are responsive, communicative and successful. In these cases, it’s up to the employee to map out their plan for success, and leaders should support it. – Linda VarrellBroadreach Public Relations

12. Realize The Limits Of The Human Mind

Companies wanting to work people 12 hours a day must realize the human mind can only be productive for a certain number of hours per day. Anything over that limit is a waste. A normal five-day workweek with eight-hour days helps us keep production at peak and doesn’t cause employee burnout (which is real). We are forced in the plant industry to work overtime in spring, and it causes a lot of problems as a result. – Tammy SonsTn Nursery

13. Work With Your Clients’ Schedules

I think this decision solely depends on who your customers are and where your revenue is coming from. If your clients work traditional five-day weeks, it may work to your disadvantage not to have similar working hours. – Hani AnisKahani Digital Marketing

14. Reward Results, Not Hours

Your employees are probably already working a four-day workweek, whether you know it or not. If your employees are working from home, most of them aren’t working full hours—and that’s fine. You should reward employees who produce results, not employees who have worked a specific amount of hours. – Gil EyalStardust Ventures

15. Remember That It May Not Work For Everyone

There have also been other studies that found the opposite. Thus, it is all about the company’s circumstances. If I recall correctly, the study mentioned involved mostly governmental organizations and not commercial enterprises—which obviously makes quite a difference. – Per SjoforsSjofors & Partners Inc