Living through the pandemic has changed a lot about how business is run. Employers must implement new strategies to stay afloat. Retaining and bringing in new talent is also quite a struggle, with companies having to one-up their offerings to draw in the best and brightest.
Flexible scheduling and restructured workweeks are one primary shift taking the global job market by storm. Within the last few years, several countries have been toying with four-day workweeks to see if they improve the lives of employees and the success of businesses in all sectors.
How do you know if a four-day work week is the right solution for your startup? This type of business can be risky as it is without adding new ideas. However, the backbone of startups is their willingness to innovate. Take a look at how this model could look for you, plus the main benefits and drawbacks of shifting to four work days.
Four-Day Work Week Options
Though the idea of a four-day work week may seem straightforward, you have a fair number of execution options. Your main decisions will be to decide what days your employees will be off and how many hours there will be.
Same Day Off vs. Staggered Days
Depending on your startup’s needs, you’d have to decide how often you want employees to be available. Giving everyone Monday off may make scheduling more straightforward, but you wouldn’t have anyone available for meetings, outreach or investor management on those days. Creating a system where half of your staff are out-of-office on Mondays and half on Fridays is also a viable alternative.
40 Hours vs. 32 Hours
The other major factor in establishing a four-day work week is deciding whether employees will pack 40 or 32 hours into those days. Reducing the number of hours to 32 per week leaves you with traditional eight-hour days, while the alternative is four 10-hour days. You need to think about the dynamic of your team. Will a 10-hour day function well for them, or can they be just as productive in fewer hours?
Benefits of a Four-Day Work Week
Many companies that have already implemented a four-day work week have seen many positive outcomes for their business and staff.
1. Better Talent
The current job market strongly favors the employee rather than the employer. Offering extra perks and benefits will draw in the best talent. To seal the deal, you’ll need to present a better package than your competitors — a shortened workweek may be just the ticket.
2. Increased Productivity
Companies using the four-day work week have found their employees were just as productive when they worked less. It eliminates busywork and allows staff members to get right to the meat and potatoes of the business, focusing on higher ROI objectives.
3. Higher Employee Retention
Adjusting your work week draws in better talent and can help retain current staff members. Listening to your employees’ needs and responding with solutions helps them feel valued and encourages company loyalty. Creating a shorter work week might be what your employees desire.
Drawbacks of a Shorter Work Week
A four-day work week may sound like an ideal solution, but there are some potential pitfalls you should consider before deciding to move forward with it for your startup.
1. Scheduling Doesn’t Work for Everyone
On paper, a four-day work week seems like it would help employees have a better work-life balance, but that might not be the reality. Fitting 40 hours into four 10-hour days would be difficult for parents who need someone to watch their children during the day. With 28% of workers saying they feel burnt out often or always, long work days may stress your employees in the long term, leading to even higher rates of burnout.
2. Business Becomes Unavailable on Off Days
You could potentially lose business when you have a set day where no one comes into work. There’s no way of working on your product or service or reaching out to investors. Growth comes to a standstill, but alternating who takes off on which day can make scheduling a nightmare.
Is a Four-Day Work Week Right for Your Startup?
A four-day work week could be the right innovation for your startup, helping draw in new talent and positioning your company at the forefront of the business world. However, depending on your needs and the needs of your team, you may find it a more rigid solution than you require. In that case, allowing your employees some flexibility with their hours outside the typical 9-to-5 may be a better option.
Devin Partida writes about investor technologies, big data and apps. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com.
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