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Increase productivity and reduce costs with a four-day work week

4 day work week

A four-day workweek is a workplace arrangement whereby employees work four days per week rather than the customary five. Typically this involves having Monday or Friday off and having a three-day weekend (every week). Usually, 38 hours of work per week spread across four days. Some employers have taken this further and enacted a 32-hour workweek (combining a four-day workweek with an eight-hour day).

The benefits of the four day work week include the following:

  • It increased employee productivity. In 2019 Microsoft trialled the four-day workweek in Japan and found it lifted productivity by 40%. Versa (an Australian digital marketing company) implemented a Wednesday-off model for its employees, increased revenue by 46%, and tripled profits within the first twelve months.
  • Reduced operating costs. Office rental costs, electricity, printing, and telephone all fall by 20%.
  • Refreshed employees, which makes working or learning more productive.
  • Employee engagement increases and reduces stress levels.
  • In societies, environmental costs are reduced due to less travelling.

How to implement a shorter, more productive work week:

  1. Schedule three to four hours of continuous, undisturbed deep work each day. Carl Newport, best-selling author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, says, ‘this is all it takes to see a transformational change in our productivity and lives’.
  2. Measure productivity, not hours worked.
  3. Avoid switching between tasks constantly. Otherwise, the dreaded cognitive switching penalty will leave you exhausted with little to show for it.
  4. When working, turn off your email and only check it every few hours. Adobe has found that the average employee checks their email 74 times daily and spends 6 hours on email.
  5. Avoid checking social media accounts when at work. The average person wastes  20% of all their time online on Facebook, news, Instagram, etc.
  6. Implement the Pareto principle, and only focus on the 20% of your tasks that will create 80% of the value.
  7. Eliminate or reduce meetings – 95% of sessions add no value.
  8. Automate any process-driven tasks.
  9. Outsource or delegate any task that can be done by someone else cheaper and better.
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