Impact of Shortened Work Weeks: Government Workers vs. Privately Employed

 

There have been quite a few companies and countries who have entertained a four-day workweek. Microsoft Japan experimented with a shorter workweek program, Spain previously announced a trail 4-day work week, and companies in Finland, Britain, and New Zealand have all considered making this change. Bangalore fintech startup Slice is eyeing a three-day work week to entice new workers and set a new work-life balance standard. Since some of these changes have not been as successful as predicted, how do business models, particularly in fintech, need to adjust to remain sustainable while operating shorter work weeks?

Hilary Kennedy sourced personal finance expert and host of the Money Girl podcast, Laura Adams, to give her take.

More From Laura Adams

If your company is considering shifting from a traditional five-day workweek to a three- or four-day schedule, there’s a lot to consider. Not only does it require a shift in worker mindset, but it must also fit your company goals, culture, technology, and customers’ needs to be successful and sustainable.

While studies have shown that implementing shorter workweeks can boost employee satisfaction, commitment to their company, and teamwork without cutting productivity–it isn’t suitable for all businesses and industries. For instance, if you have a physically demanding job, such as working in construction, roofing, steel, or being a surgeon, having to complete more work in fewer days could be incredibly dangerous.

Another working model is to reduce an employee’s hours over three or four days, giving them an extended weekend. That may allow workers to return to work refreshed and even reduce their number of sick days. However, many employees wouldn’t want to see their pay take such a big cut. Plus, management would have to cover more work shifts, creating additional administration.

Whether your business should adopt a shorter work week depends on various factors. The best approach would be to make a gradual transition or create a pilot program to fully understand the pros and cons for your business and all of its stakeholders.

Laura Adams, MBA, is a finance and business expert with InsuranceProviders.com.

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