Expert Pitch

How to Weigh and Implement a 4-Day Workweek

University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business

With former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang recently advocating via Twitter for a four-day workweek, Professor of the Practice in Systems Thinking and Design Gerald Suarez at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business says “done right, the four-day workweek can yield great benefits for the company, community and individual alike.”

Quoting Suarez:

“Companies exploring these options need to be very careful because it’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all.’ This is a ‘one-size-fits-most’ and it’s not meant for every industry. There might be some industries that need to maintain that 24-hour cycle.”

“In weaker economies, the four-day workweek might not deliver the same benefits to workers. Employees who struggle financially might take on a second job, potentially leading to faster burnout and negating the advantages of time off.”

“For companies considering implementing a four-day workweek…

Don’t imitate. Each company is unique, so customize your plan to make sure it aligns with your company’s mission, values and objectives.

Test drive. There’s no need to make it a companywide mandate right off the bat. Try it out within different areas of the company to get a sense of its effectiveness.

Streamline processes. Establish efficient operations to create conditions for people to work fewer hours and help employees compensate for having an extra day off.

Spread the word. Communicate the decision externally and internally. Tell customers how the change might impact them and explain the rationale and financial benefits to shareholders to avoid negative perceptions about the company’s workflow.

Lead by example. Make sure executives and supervisors support the change in order to prevent employees from feeling pressured to come in and refrain from taking their time off.”

About Suarez: An organizational psychology PhD-holder, Suarez has authored “Leader of One” and served as Director of Presidential Quality for the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

 




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