Is a four-day working week really possible?


As we go to our own jobs on a Monday to Friday, we often read of how other nations do things better. Scandinavian countries, for example, are famous for their adoption of the ‘four-day working week’ in many parts of their society. As opposed to doing five to six days of mild work where it is hard to stay focused and motivated, many companies in countries like Denmark and Sweden instead aim for a four-day working week. The idea is simple; you are in the office less, but you do more while you are there!

It has become a common choice in many European and Asian cultures, but many business leaders believe it to be nonsense. Is it? The move to a 32-hour week allows people to focus on being productive as opposed to simply being present. How, though, can a company make it work?

How is it possible to ensure that people stick to the rules and make sure that they use their working time wisely as opposed to minimizing productivity?

Building from the base

The main thing with a four-day workweek is not to simply switch everyone from Monday-Friday to Monday-Thursday. Instead, you build from a gradual base and slowly yet surely introduce some changes to help the company grow and develop.

Start off with some sub-sections of your company and departments that you believe are currently overworked. Changing shifts, schedules, and working patterns can be observed slowly before being used in other parts of your workplace.

Interact with senior staff

Of course, you need to be able to turn to your senior staff and ask them to play their role in making things happen. A good quality management structure allows for everyone to buy into the process. You might need to find management staff who agree with the principle of a four-day working week or get them trained on how to best use their free time.

Either way, interacting with senior staff is sure to help encourage buy-in from everyone else.

Get staff involved

The main benefit of a four-day working week is that you can basically give staff their option of days to work. So long as you don’t find everyone wants Friday off, this should work out pretty well. While you want your business open each day, you want your staff to be involved in 4 of those days, no more. So, get staff involved and work out how to best form a rota that benefits everyone.

Be open to flexibility

The primary reason to head down this route is to ensure that people feel as if they are living and working, not living to work. So, you need to be able to create a company culture that encourages people to be flexible both in their own needs and the needs of colleagues.

You need to be able to give people the knowledge, though, that flexibility is going to work out fine moving forward; you need people to know that they can be trusted to make the right decision.

Focus on the above, and it might be easier to envisage your company slowly but surely pivoting to the four-day working week.