The world of business as we know it is going through the first major change since the 20’s when Henry Ford introduced the five-day working week – the past two years have seen remote working become the normal as the digital nomad lifestyle has become something of a desirable choice too with more businesses leaning into location independence and the flexibility that comes with that too. One of the more prominent changes suggested lately, however, has been the possibility of a four-day working week to replace the standard 9-5, and if completed trials are anything to go by, it could find widespread success too.
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At the start of the COVID pandemic, Iceland had been one of the first countries to trial the change and had found what was to be expected – increased productivity and increased employee satisfaction were two of the big reports to come back from the trial but then had went quiet for a bit, other countries like the UK have then looked to follow with a widespread trial too to work hand in hand with the remote working shift too, but there are still some road blocks that will need to be overcome in order for this change to become the normal.
The first is exactly which direction to choose when making the change – with either change coming with its own pros and cons. One change is to cut the work hours whilst keeping pay the same, essentially giving employees their full 40-hour salary on a 30-hour schedule and had been the approach with the best outcome too – a better work-life balance without the sacrifice of pay is what most would hope to receive but the least likely to become the go-to choose from the employer. The second approach is to cut both hours and pay, a 30-hour work week with 30-hours of pay too, which is a fine balance for some but with the rise in inflation and the rise in cost of living, a difficult pill to swallow for some and may lead to the increased likelihood of those individuals needing to find a second job too.
It often comes with a rotating schedule too, in order to keep business operating five-days per week, employees will need to rotate the additional day off to keep a business fully staffed but this is a trade off many will likely be willing to take for additional flexibility. Whilst this is likely still a long way off before becoming more mainstream, it does seem like there is at least movement leading toa better balance.