There’s a New Push for a 32-Hour Work Week. Benefits? How Are Companies Adapting?

There’s a New Push for a 32-Hour Work Week. Benefits? How Are Companies Adapting?

An idea that started to gain steam the last time gas prices rose past $4 a gallon was the 32-hour workweek. This is a paradigm where employees work just 32 hours per week instead of the typical 40 hours but retain the same pay and benefits.

Employers are likely to initially think, “Why should my staff work less, and I pay them the same?” But it turns out that studies have shown that this can actually be a model that boosts productivity, improves employee retention, and lowers costs for employers and employees.

Advanced technology, such as AI and machine learning, along with cloud services have made it possible for people to do more in less time. The pandemic forced companies to already change their workflow to incorporate remote teams, which for many was a wake-up call that things could change unexpectedly and actually get better.

Some advantages realized with the move to remove teams included:

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved employee morale
  • Lower operational costs
  • More flexibility to offer customer service at varying hours

Some are championing the 32-hour workweek as another shift in a way of thinking that can bring about multiple benefits that improve a company’s bottom line.

Advantages of the 4-day / 32-hour Work Week

Some statistics cited by SHRM on the advantages of moving to a 4-day workweek include:

  • One company saw a 20% increase in productivity after moving to a 4-day, 32-hour workweek
  • 80% of employees say they’d be more loyal to their employers if offered flexible work options
  • 60% of organizations that implemented a 4-day work week, cited gains in employee satisfaction and productivity

The secret that companies cite for their success in allowing employees to work 8 hours less during the week and get more productivity is removing the unnecessary time-wasting activities.

This includes unnecessary meetings that eat up time but might not improve productivity. Instead, companies use cloud tools like Microsoft Teams or task managers like Trello to keep everyone coordinated on tasks and priorities in much less time.

When you give employees a weekday off, they also have an opening to schedule things like doctor’s appointments, trips to the DMV, etc. This means they don’t have to take as much personal time off to do those things during the week.

Here are some of the advantages of transitioning to a 32-hour working week.

Better Work-Life Balance

With a 4-day workweek, employees get three days off to spend time with family and enjoy their non-working life. A better work-life balance means happier employees that are more committed to giving 110% while they are at work.

Fewer Personal Days Taken

When you open up another day for employees to do things like take a long weekend trip with the family or schedule a dental cleaning, it means they don’t have to take time off work to do those things.

You can reduce absenteeism and lateness, which improves productivity and keeps everyone on task rather than gossiping about why “Sally” has taken yet another day off.

More Focus & Productivity

When employees are fitting their workload from five days into a four-day schedule, there’s more focus and less time wasted. Employees don’t feel as burnt out, and as a result, can work at a steady pace to get things done during their time at work.

Boost to Employee Recruitment & Retention

Today’s hiring market is competitive as companies are finding it hard to find good employees that won’t be lured away by a better offer. When you offer a 4-day work week for the same pay and benefits as working a 5-day week, you make your company more attractive to potential hires.

You also increase your chance of retaining your talented team members, because they may not want to move back to a 5-day workweek.

Greater Innovation

Fitting 5 days of work into 4 days takes innovative solutions that implement IT, automation, and strategies to save time.

The attraction of working a 4-days on 3-days off schedule is such that both employees and managers will be all-in on coming up with optimizations that improve efficiency and thus allow them to do tasks and complete processes faster.

The 32-hour workweek gives them a strong motivation to innovate and continue optimizing.

Fewer Distractions & Time Wasters

It’s estimated that during the typical 40-hour workweek, employees waste approximately 2.09 hours per day (this doesn’t include normal lunch and breaks). That equates to 10.45 hours per week, more than a whole day.

These time-wasters happen when employees aren’t kept busy or are distracted by coworkers looking to have a water-cooler chat.

When you eliminate the excess time, those activities and distractions are mitigated. Everyone is more focused because they feel motivated to get their work done, knowing the reward is that additional day off each week.

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