Since the COVID pandemic, the idea of people working five days a week in the office has become a thing of the past. But what could your team members accomplish if they only worked four days a week and used the extra time to renew themselves so they could focus on their work the other days?
On The Small Business Radio Show this week, Joe Sanok, author of “Thursday is the New Friday: How to Work Fewer Hours, Make More Money” examines how the four-day workweek boosts creativity and productivity. He is the host of the popular “The Practice of the Practice Podcast”.
Interview with Joe Sanok on the Four Day Work Week
Joe discusses the origin of the seven-day week work week in the 19th century set by industrialist businesspeople. At the time, employees were working 10- 14 hours a day six to seven days a week. In 1926, Henry Ford started the 40-hour work week since he thought it would sell more cars if people had a weekend to have more recreation; it worked. Joe says there was pushback at the time on “only 40 hours” because business owners didn’t want to lose 20 hours of work from their employees.
Things change in the 1980’s again. At that time, Joe believes “Friday as a productive day dissipates and productivity gets lost. Now with the post pandemic, there is another opportunity to adjust the work week and improve productivity.”
Joe cites a 2500-person study in Iceland where they switched to a 32-hour work week and got higher productivity than working 40 hours a week. He adds “they don’t spend time doing personal stuff during the work week since they have time to do it on the other 3 days. They come back to work recharged. But remember, this is no longer a one size fits all like in the age of the industrialist. The companies that make this work experiment with their team to see what works.”
Joe emphasizes that “we need to talk about shifting to thinking about value that team members are contributing not time. It moves the responsibility for the results to them employees not the owner and it’s not just based the time. People are not machines.”
Image: Joe Sanok