Nearly a year since its onset, COVID-19 has upended the traditional way of working for most industries. Despite some early hesitation about how the way of work would shift, many companies now embrace permanent work-from-home policies. Employees increasingly hope to continue this workplace flexibility once the pandemic is over.
The thought of only 41 percent of the U.S. labor force working in a physical office all the time would have seemed ridiculous at the start of 2020. Now, though, companies realize that the productivity benefits of workplace flexibility make these arrangements a competitive essential, not just a perk based on the employer’s trust in their team and goodwill.
As companies continue to explore ways to optimize their business and increase their team productivity, no matter where they are based, does this mean that we will also see the end of the 8-hour a day, 5-day workweek?
Examples of Four-Day Workweek Success
There have been advocates of a shorter working week for several years, with some notable wins for companies that got rid of the five-day workweek:
- Microsoft Japan boosted sales by nearly 40% in a one month experiment where employees were given a four-day week on full pay.
- New Zealand firm Perpetual Guardian experimented with a 32-hour workweek in 2018 and saw no dips in productivity.
- Seattle startup Volt switched to a four-day workweek after surveying team employees during the pandemic’s early days, and the company reported higher job satisfaction and productivity.
Of the companies that have explored a four-day workweek, many note that the change helps team members focus on being more productive during their working time. The additional day off allowed employees to return to work feeling more rested and recharged.
Workers Want A Shorter Workweek
Workers are increasingly in favor of a shorter workweek, with nearly three in every four office workers supporting a four-day workweek (and other studies suggest that Americans are willing to work more hours in four days.)
Building on this, a Harvard Business School study found that the average workday has grown by 48.5 minutes since the onset of COVID-19. While some of this increase may be the result of general growing pains of shifting to remote work, this shows the eight-hour workday is becoming less common, so why not explore ways to optimize the time spent?
For now, such changes in the U.S. are being explored company-by-company. Still, the movement has gained high-profile endorsements, including from Andrew Yang, entrepreneur and former Democratic presidential candidate. Other countries have made steps toward a shorter workweek, including France, which has an official workweek of 35 hours, and New Zealand, where Prime Minister Sanna Marin has advocated for a shorter workweek.
Collaborative Technology Can Enable a More Productive Workweek and Provide Insights Into Your Workplace Culture
While it is too early to tell whether we will soon see the end of the eight-hour-a-day, five-day workweek, one thing is certain: there is great potential for companies to continue optimizing their workweeks to meet their team needs.
A natural place to start in this optimization is to modernize your collaborative technology stack, ideally choosing solutions that arm you with the data you need to make informed decisions. Frameable has designed a suite of remote-first digital experiences for team collaboration and social connection. Give us a try!