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four-day workweek benefits

Is a Four-Day Workweek Good For Your Team?

March 5th, 2019

Four-Day Workweek Benefits

Today’s workplace landscape offers more options for flexibility than ever before. From PTO policies to health insurance options and incentives to how you structure the workweek altogether, employers have plenty to consider when making choices about what works best for your business and team. One of the ideas that seems to be gaining more traction now is the four-day workweek.  As your PEO services firm, we dive into the four-day workweek benefits and how it works for many employers when it comes to employee engagement and productivity.

The Mechanics

So how does the four-day workweek work, exactly? There are different ways to approach it, but the prevailing trend has been cutting the workweek down to a 32-hour workweek instead of the traditional 40. The third day off doesn’t have to land on a Monday or a Friday in order to give employees a 3-day weekend, though that’s often the road companies take for the sake of convenience. For your team, a break in the middle of the week might make more sense, and that’s fine, too.

A four-day workweek rarely effects pay, especially in salaried positions. Some states have legislation that dictates overtime pay for hourly-waged employees as any hours over 40 in a given workweek, and some regulate it as any more than 8 hours in a given workday. It’s important to know what the laws are in your state so you aren’t shocked when you apply a principle like this to all employees and end up owing some 8 hours of overtime per week. Typically, though, pay scales aren’t affected by the switch at all, especially if you’re following the trend of cutting hours to increase productivity rather than extending hours per day in order to shorten the workweek by a day without losing hours.

What About PTO?

Employers who are contemplating making this move often have questions about PTO. Often PTO is discussed in terms of days, or hours. If your entire office works a four-day workweek, there’s no reason to shift that conversation. However, if only some of your employees work a four-day workweek while others are still working five days a week, it may make more sense to shift your PTO into hours to make sure the playing field is even where it needs to be.

The Benefits of the Four-day Workweek

From an employee standpoint, taking another day off the commute and out of the office can allow greater commitment to personal projects, family, and friends. But it’s not just the employees who can stand to benefit here. Several studies have shown that a four-day workweek can reduce overall stress in the office, increase productivity, and lead to happier, more engaged employees. Because they have an extra day off in their schedule, their time at the office is more focused and energized, which serves most companies’ goals well.

Things to Watch Out for

Sure, that all sounds fine, but that doesn’t make it an automatic win for everyone. If your clients have certain expectations for communication, a sudden shift in availability may cause issues, or require a learning curve before settling back to status quo.  Having some employees working a four-day workweek while others do not can cause scheduling issues or make the employees on the alternate work schedule feel pressure to call into meetings and do work on their days off, which defeats the purpose behind the idea altogether.

As with most decisions that impact your workforce, there are good things and bad things to consider. You must evaluate your team, your goals as a business, and know your employees well enough to anticipate, at least a little, how they would operate under these situations. If you have a self-motivated team dedicated to getting stuff done, who enjoys their work-life balance to be as balanced as possible, it might be a good fit for you. If you’re worried about the mechanics of implementing something like that, and how it might integrate with your policies and benefits, that’s where we come in.