Will the 4-day work week really work in software companies?
Updated: Jul 8
A four-day work-week is relatively a new concept, keeping a fast-paced work environment and mental health in mind. Working fewer hours for the same amount of money each week is the purpose of a 4-day work week. From a Software Company’s employee perspective, working fewer hours every week feels good because it adds an extra day off to their personal lives.
Experiments with a four-day work-week have been taking place in the USA since the 1990's and the COVID-19 crisis made the world more receptive to this idea. It helps employees juggle better with their responsibilities including family and work, eventually striking the right balance and giving them their space to enjoy life.
But, not everything may seem rosy with the 4-day work-week concept. There are certain challenges faced by Software Company employees, and there are benefits to this work culture.
First, let us look at the benefits of 4-day work-week:
1. Longer weekends
Working four days a week ensures that employees relax well and have ample time to do anything of their choice. This not just rejuvenates them but also helps them finish tasks on the personal front.
2.Increased productivity and efficacy:
Lesser distractions and more focus may eventually result in higher productivity of each employee when they are aware that they will be working only four days a week. The excitement of a shorter work-week could push them to be more efficient and complete their tasks on time.
New Zealand based company, Perpetual Guardian, conducted a study of a 4-day work-week. Not only did employees maintain the same productivity level, but they also showed improvements in job satisfaction, teamwork, work/life balance and company loyalty. Employee’s stress levels also fell drastically from 45% to 38%, revealed the study.
A 4-day week and flexible work arrangements mean more savings, eliminating financial and physical burden to commute regularly. On the other hand, it helps in reducing the carbon footprint
People who work for more than 8 hours a day on all days of the week are struggling with mental pressure and physical tiredness. This naturally leads to job dissatisfaction and employee engagement towards work also drastically falls. So, a 4-day work week ensures a good work-life balance.
Next, here’s a look at the challenges of a 4-day work week:
Balancing shift patterns:
One of the most challenging things of a 4-day work week is that, if you’re a Monday to Friday business, staying that way gets a bit more complicated. Maybe, everyone wants Monday or Friday off, or everyone decides they want a mid-week break. Having too many or too few people in the office can bring things grinding to a halt.
Compressed hours can build up pressure:
Well, 4-day work-week doesn’t necessarily mean 8-hour of work as the world regularly follows. This could mean a 10-hour work day that could put pressure on all IT Software Company employees to finish work within the stipulated time and carry on for longer hours. Plus, an overclocked schedule is a fast-track to burnout.
Less time to fulfill the duties:
Results could take a hit when employees have only four days in the week to wrap up their weekly work. And, 4 days on, 3 days off work means not every employee can be satisfied. they’ll be working the same time as in a five days a week schedule or overtime and won’t receive any tangible benefits.
It doesn’t suit all business models:
Not every industry can afford to switch to a different business model so easily. Many companies require 24/7 presence, so giving the employees one more day off can result in problems with shift scheduling and eventually, work doesn’t get done.
A four-day schedule can make it easier for caregivers, including working parents, to juggle their responsibilities and the extra day off means fewer commuting days, which saves time and reduces environmental impact. Not only does a 4-day work-week increase employee satisfaction, company commitment and teamwork, but it also decreases stress levels. But, the moot question is: Will this really work to benefit employees and companies and create a win-win situation for both or will this revolutionize work and make the world adapt to it, eventually?
(Author: Abirami Vellayappan is a curious cat and a social media writer at TechDoQuest.)