Will 4 Day Work Week Improve Your Work-Life Balance
Is four day work week solution for work-life balance? Is leading a fulfilling life not far from our reach? What makes us humans happier - money, fame, or …? Let us find out.
The four-day workweek is back in the news with the Dubai government's 4.5 days work week mandate. They have adopted it from 1st January 2022 to improve the employees' productivity and well-being.
Many governments across the world have run four-day workweek trials. And many active trials of four day work week are going on in many companies. The Covid-19 pandemic has fueled a four-day workweek momentum worldwide.
Let’s have a look at the shorter workweek trials and their results
The shorter or compressed workweek is not a new idea. The famous economist John Maynard Keynes, in his 1930 essay, "Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren," predicted that because of technological advancements, people would work 15 hour weeks with increased productivity and generate more wealth.
In 2018, Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand firm's four-day workweek trail, succeeded. They noticed an increase in productivity by 20%, a 45% increase in employee work-life balance, and decreased stress levels.
In 2019, Microsoft Japan adopted the same four-day workweek trail. And what they found was a 40% increase in productivity and a 23% savings in electricity.
From 2015 to 2019, there were two trials in Iceland. They adopted 35 working hours a week without reducing pay. It did not hamper productivity, improved work-life balance, and reduced stress in employees.
As a result, the New Zealand government suggested a four-day workweek, and also the Japanese government recommended the companies opt for a four-day workweek. Both the governments declared it was a part of an initiative for work-life balance.
Having a work-life balance is crucial for leading a fulfilling life. We spend so much time working that we have forgotten the importance of personal well-being. We neglect our health, indulge in mindless eating, spend most of the time sitting at the desk, and whatnot. Work-life balance means aligning our physical, mental and spiritual health. The quality of life improves when you become mentally and physically aware of yourself.
Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls family, friends, health, integrity — are glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.
Think how deep it is; is it worth losing health, family, friends, and unheeded soul to focus only on work. Balancing all of them well makes lives worth living.
Let’s find out how a four-day workweek will impact our lives.
Impacts of 4 Day Workweek
The advantages of working fewer hours will have a more significant impact on the employees' productivity. When people are happier and satisfied, they become valuable assets. According to research, people work better and achieve more when working fewer hours than overworking. The productivity declines after a certain number of hours, and chronic health issues begin. People should not work more than 35 hours a week for better productivity. According to an Oxford study, happy employees are 13% more productive.
No Employee Burnout
According to experts, job burnout is physical and emotional exhaustion. It induces a sense of reduced accomplishments and loss of personal identity. Lack of social support and work-life imbalance are the few causes of employee burnout. The consequences of employee burnout can create havoc on people's mental and physical health.
More Time to Invest In One's Well-Being
Working for long hours takes a toll on one’s health. Shorter working hours help people to have ample time to invest in their well-being. They can have enough time to do their chores and meet personal commitments at home. And they can also focus on their physical activities like yoga, meditation, etc. When people spend time with family and friends, have adequate sleep, eat healthily and exercise. They tend to become happier, healthier and it helps boost their productivity. You can lead a life free from stress, exhaustion, chronic diseases, etc., with an excellent work-life balance.
Improved Social Well-Being
When you have time, you can invest it in your social well-being. Social well-being encompasses meaningful connection, taking care of yourself and loved ones, having meaningful conversations with family and friends, playing and bonding with kids, building healthy and meaningful relationships.
Do you know what makes human beings happy? It took 75 years to study it, and Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist from Harvard School, revealed the reason for happiness. Waldinger says neither money nor fame makes humans happier. The study showed that good relationships make us happier, healthier, and help us lead blissful lives.
Therefore, fewer work days or working hours are vital in work-life balance. It improves the quality of life. And enhances their productivity and helps people achieve better results at the workplace. The companies can flourish.
A four-day workweek is an excellent option for employees, businesses, and society. It is a great idea to fetch harmony environmentally, physically, and psychologically.
However, companies should work out the best plan for them, which works better. They can choose reduced workdays or work hours according to their industry. In the end, what matters is how meaningful you lead your life as an employer, employee, friend, father, mother, son, daughter, husband, or wife.
Let me know what you feel about the four-day workweek and work-life balance.