In this blog we are going to examine the physical and mental benefits of reducing the number of workdays. Not only does a 4-day work week increase employee satisfaction, productivity and teamwork, but it also decreases stress levels. Even better, it is very effective in helping employees achieve a good work-life balance.
Change is coming, now that more companies are adopting the four-day work week. In fact, more than 3,000 workers at 60 different British companies will enjoy the luxury of having longer weekends as they participate in a pilot work scheme from June to December this year. While this scheme tests their productivity during shorter work weeks, employees get the best of both worlds as they enjoy their longer weekends without getting any pay cuts.
“No one on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office.‘”
– Paul Tsongas, Politician
Increased energy all day
Decreased stress levels
Better work-life balance
Reduced workdays are a fantastic idea, since it allows you to have a realistic time frame for household chores, socialisation, and actual rest on the weekends! But on top of that, reduced workdays benefit professionals in the following ways:
Businesses assume that employees are more productive if they work longer. Though it makes sense, our article on how to prioritise quotes Gary Keller to emphasise that productivity isn’t about being a workhorse that simply doesn’t stop. Keller points out that individuals are more productive if they are able to fiercely plan and protect their time.
This is true, especially in four-day workweeks. Since employees have a shorter time frame to work with, they adjust by increasing their focus within their planned schedules. So instead of scrolling through social media until the clock hits five, employees focus on their tasks to make the most of the short work week.
You may think that employees will be more exhausted as they condense their tasks in the short work week. But as it turns out, professionals are more energised to complete work tasks as a result of their reduced number of workdays.
John Trougakos, an associate professor of organisational behaviour, explains that a standard work week is simply not set up for efficiency. Longer work weeks stretch people’s attention span over extended periods of time, making them less efficient. Meanwhile, providing longer rest days improves employees’ well-being, so they come to work as energised and engaged professionals.
Here’s the thing: most professionals aren’t able to recover from stress in two days. Since most of us have to catch up on chores on weekends, they can experience extreme exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress, a.k.a. burnout.
LHH, the world leader in talent solutions, reports that the World Health Organization has classified work-related burnout as a distinct health syndrome, because excessively long working hours has led to millions of deaths. But there is a way to put a stop to this! UK businesses, such as the Landmark Hotel in London, were able to attest that their employees were less burnt out after their work days had been reduced.
True work-life balance sounds impossible in standard work weeks. As such, it’s revolutionary that Iceland’s two-year-long trial proved that reduced work weeks are effective in helping employees achieve a good work-life balance. Since employees have longer weekends, they don’t have to compromise the activities that they want to do for the chores that they have to finish.
On top of that, organisations with four-day work weeks noted that individuals are more active in their home life. More partners in relationships willingly participated in household chores, while parents had more time to bond with their children.
Through reduced workdays, employees actually get to rest on weekends. This allows their body to take on work tasks and household chores like a pro, without compromising their concentration levels and their mental wellness.
Other benefits of reduced workdays lead to the prevention of burnout, where signs can easily be overseen. As Dr. Eleanor Akaho explains in the blog Burnout, What it is, What the Warning Signs Are and How to Prevent it, burnout will not go away on its own. In fact, it will get worse unless you address the underlying issues causing it. And as so often, prevention is better then treatment.
Dr. Akaho tells us that some of the most common signs are:
As you can see, we can gain enormous benefits from reducing our workdays, and this will lead to increased productivity and energy levels. It will also allow us to get more done while maintaining mental health and being able to manage the balance between work and private life.
Do You Want to Improve Your Work-Life Balance?
To achieve a work-life balance that works for you, you’ve got to be in control of managing your time and energy in a way that benefits you!
As a life coach, I can support you with tips and tools to improve your energy management to create the balance you deserve.
Other topics I specialise in include:
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This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.
For more information please see www.alicedartnell.com
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