July 2022

The workplace has certainly changed a lot in recent years. To think: at one time, a 4-day workweek was a mere dream. Yet, the concept is not new. Despite our recent hullabaloo, the 21st century can’t take all the credit. 1817 saw the first advocating for shorter workweeks, while change only came about by the 1920s when the workweek went from six to five days. A century later, we’re re-evaluating labour structures some more… but why?

Simply put, an adjusted model can benefit employees and businesses. It could mean no more disappearing acts, presenteeism, or daydreaming about Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility. Besides, studies show an improved work-life balance leads to employee engagement and productivity.

A shorter workweek can benefit everyone in remote, onsite, and hybrid working models. For this reason, dozens of countries are changing their labour structure. The Middle East is right on trend too, with the UAE already boasting an adjusted workweek. But will it work for your business? Read on to find out!

Why are companies switching to a 4-day workweek?

Many counties toyed with the idea of a reduced workweek, but only embraced it after successful trial runs. Companies in places like Iceland reported a largely positive employee experience. Workers said they enjoyed less stress and greater happiness and health.

Many companies noted workers’ creativity and productivity improved during shorter workweeks. Employee retention also increased. Plus, it proved to be a powerful recruitment incentive. Burnout cases dropped, while staff felt the change led to a more sustainable and well-balanced lifestyle overall.

If you’re already wondering how to start your HR digital transformation for a shortened workweek – wait. There’s still more to consider before making a final decision about your business hours.

What are the benefits?

A short workweek means happy, healthy, and well-rested employees. In turn, this leads to improved productivity. Their amplified performance makes them greater assets to the company.

All in all, there are many benefits. Although, engaged employees and decreased costs stand out the most. By understanding employee engagement and company costs, you can determine if shorter workweeks are a good option.

Employee Engagement & Productivity

When it comes to employee performance, it’s undeniable that content, engaged workers do well. And what better way to ensure their happiness than by enhancing the employee experience? A shorter workweek gives staff more freedom and makes them feel looked after.

The likelihood of workers faking sick leave to de-stress or simply enjoy themselves also decreases. With long weekends and more personal time, employees have a better chance to feel well-rested and motivated at work. It can lead to them not only meeting expectations but exceeding them.

Decreased Company Costs

At first, it may come as a surprise that the 4-day workweek can reduce company costs. After all – it’s one less day per week to earn money. Nevertheless, it makes sense. During this extra day off, businesses save on overhead running costs like electricity and office supplies. And those companies that offer perks such as free snacks or lunches continue saving.

What to Consider Before Implementing a 4-day Workweek

It’s important to emphasize that, although the shortened workweek has benefits, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, some companies thrive by sticking to a traditional structure. However, looking at certain factors can help businesses decide how to move forward.

Customer Satisfaction

After employee experience, what determines business success is customer satisfaction. Think about it: happy workers do their job well which, in turn, leads to happy customers. Ultimately, the nature and industry of a company can determine how shorter workweeks will impact customers.

For example, government offices being inaccessible on Fridays may inconvenience many clients. However, private businesses with access to alternative customer support systems could continue thriving.

Technological Advances

Businesses considering a reduced workweek must ensure they have the right technology to support the change. It’s important for maintaining productivity and, as mentioned before, customer satisfaction.

Is your company positioned and ready for employees to work less? Have you started digital transformation internally yet? If not, these are things you must figure out first. Luckily, powerful HRMS providers, like gulfHR, make implementing such changes a breeze.

Working Models

Many consider the traditional, 5-day workweek model outdated. Yet, it continues to serve certain industries well. In the end, whether a reduced workweek will work boils down to how a company chooses to implement it.

Some employers may decide to offer staff a compressed workweek, not a reduced one. In other words, they still need to clock 35-40 hours over four days. Or workers will have to take a pay cut. But these hybrid models may cause distress or more daydreams of invisibility cloaks and magical places far, far away. So, remember that, whatever the change, a pleasant employee experience equals improved performance.

Learn How gulfHR Can Help You Implement a 4-Day Workweek Today

Effortlessly switch to a shorter workweek with a world-class HRMS platform just for the Middle East!


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