The four day work week has become a popular discussion among both employees and employers lately. With record-low unemployment rates, many companies are searching for ways to retain top talent by offering a variety of perks. A shorter workweek is one such benefit that’s attractive to employees. Who doesn’t want to have a longer weekend to spend more time with friends and family?
It’s not just employees who like the idea, either. Research has been conducted on the impact of a four day work week and shows that productivity can increase, so some employers are all ears to the idea.
But not all companies are created equal. Some, because of the industry or customer demand or a variety of factors, can’t just close the doors a day earlier. If that’s your company, what else can you do? Here are three options to consider in lieu of a four day work week.
3 Alternatives to the 4 Day Work Week
1. Offer More Flexibility
For a long time, salary was the most important factor when searching for a job. It almost always came down to money when a candidate was deciding on a job offer. When someone wanted to switch jobs, a better salary was often the reason. While salary is still important, other factors are now at play.
In today’s workplace, a good work-life balance is highly attractive, and it keeps both current employees happy and candidates engaged. Not only does making room for family, friends, and hobbies increase your overall happiness, it can improve your mental and physical health, and help prevent burnout.
If your company can’t provide a four day work week, consider giving employees more flexibility in their schedules. Allowing your employees to come and go as needed empowers them to be fully responsible for their own time and productivity. This can actually motivate them more.
Being flexible goes beyond employee happiness because when employees are happy, they tell everyone. Friends, family, and other potential candidates searching for a job will get their fill of stories about how awesome your company is, thereby attracting more talent.
2. Let Employees Work From Home
One of the core benefits of a four day work week is to reduce stress. But for companies that aren’t able to offer a shorter week, the next best thing is to allow employees to work from home.
A lot of managers are skeptical of work from home policies, as they envision employees lying around their house in their PJ’s and focusing more on laundry than important work matters. It can be scary implementing such a policy, for sure. But at the end of the day if you can’t trust your employees to do the work–whether they’re in the office, at home, or anywhere in the world–why hire them in the first place? The keyword here is trust.
In lieu of a shorter workweek, working from home can have a similar impact on employees. Some benefits include:
- Reduced stress
- Positive health impact
- Better work-life balance
The real benefit of establishing a work from home policy, however, is productivity. Common office distractions like last-minute meetings and coworkers randomly dropping by to chat are a non-issue. Employees can work distraction-free to reach a level of productivity they’re unable to achieve while in the office.
Tips for Implementing a Work From Home Policy
Ground rules are important for implementing a work from home policy. But for a manager who’s never done so, it can be a bit nerve wracking and lead you to setting some guidelines that only frustrate employees, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. Some tips for creating a work from home policy include:
- Trust your employees to do the work.
- Schedule weekly meetings.
- Give them the right tools.
Working from home has so many positive implications that it’s almost crazy not to have some form of policy. There are also plenty of digital tools available to help manage remote workers.
3. Encourage Breaks
Another way to add flexibility and improve your employees’ work-life balance is by encouraging them to take a break. Stepping away from work throughout the day for a little bit helps them regroup and connect with their fellow colleagues. However, even though it’s the law to provide breaks, many don’t take one. One study found that 33% of people don’t take a break at work.
Breaks go beyond a few minutes to shovel food in their mouths. You can extend your lunch break time and even provide a relaxing break room where employees actually want to spend time. Offering free office snacks is also a great way to show employees they’re valued and will encourage them to get away from their desks every now and then.