Extra days off? Time to think about new methods of working

It’s vacation time across the nation. As I write, we now have the particular public vacation for the late Queen on Thursday. If you happen to dwell in Victoria, you get the Friday off too, after which for a lot of there are college holidays. This meant, that for almost all we had a four-day week at most. Which, in response to current analysis would possibly level to elevated productiveness.

A UK-based not-for-profit organisation, 4 Day Week International, has simply reported on the primary three months of a six-month trial of a four-day week. Greater than 70 organisations signed up for the trial. This represented a pattern of over 3300 workers. The pattern lined most trade sectors and sizes of organisation. Thus far, the outcomes look like spectacular: 95 per cent of organisations who responded reported that their productiveness was both unchanged (46 per cent), or had elevated (49 per cent).

A four-day working week.

A whopping 97 per cent of responding organisations indicated that the transition to the four-day week was clean to extraordinarily clean. That is additionally a doubtlessly game-changing consequence as a result of past the utterly comprehensible issues about productiveness, employers are additionally more likely to be fearful concerning the disruption brought on by such a radical change, and the related prices of that disruption.

General, the overwhelming majority (86 per cent) of responding organisations indicated that at this level within the trial, they’re positively disposed to retaining the four-day week completely.

Now clearly one can level to the self-selecting nature of the pattern. One imagines that the organisations signing up had been already on the very least open to the potential of a revised working-week. Whether or not this displays the vital significance of administration buy-in, or that the taking part organisations had sufficiently versatile structural constraints to make a four-day week work, just isn’t clear right now. Additional, I think that the productiveness knowledge will want monitoring over an extended interval. What is obvious is that the four-day week can work in a big variety of organisations with little or no unfavorable impacts on productiveness at the least within the quick time period.


The organisational psychologist in me should at all times remember the Hawthorne impact. Famously related to an Australian psychologist, Elton Mayo, the research that commenced within the late Twenties, seemed on the affect of differing lighting, relaxation breaks and the format of the workspaces on the productiveness of manufacturing unit staff in an Illinois plant. It appeared that productiveness improved whatever the intervention.

The outcomes have since been topic to a number of completely different interpretations, together with that these being studied need to please their observers, or presumably the improved suggestions afforded by a research is motivational. Briefly, one should at all times watch out and cautious when attributing optimistic adjustments at work to interventions that preceded the adjustments. As is so steadily the case, issues are typically extra advanced.

On the very least, this interim report will present encouragement for enlightened employers who’re ready to think about new methods of working which are more likely to be enticing to workers. It contributes to the broader debate concerning the function of labor in our lives, and whether or not the “economic system” is there to work for us, or us to work for the economic system.

Jim Shiny, FAPS is professor of profession training and growth at ACU and owns Shiny and Associates, a profession administration consultancy. E mail to opinion@jimbright.com. Comply with him on Twitter @DrJimBright

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