How to Experiment with a 4-Day Workweek

You’ve probably heard about the benefits of a four-day workweek — for both employers and employees. Maybe you’ve even considered trying it out in your organization. But it can be difficult to go from the idea to a successful implementation. Here are several things to keep in mind if you want to experiment with a shorter workweek at your company:
• Communicate. Be clear about your reasons for trying out the four-day workweek, and assure your employees that they will not be laid off, experience a pay cut, or lose out on other benefits like paid vacation. Encourage ongoing conversations about how to get more done in less time — whether that’s implementing new tools, eliminating unnecessary meetings, or making existing ones more effective.
• Involve your employees. You’ll need their input and buy-in to make this a success. Ask them: Should we work four eight-hour days, or reduced hours on five days? Which days or hours should we take off? How can we keep the change from negatively impacting our clients, customers, and other stakeholders? What steps can we take to increase our productivity? How will we share our ideas for process improvements with one another?
• Adjust along the way. You won’t get everything right from the start, so make it a goal to identify the tools and processes your organization needs to make reduced work hours possible. View any problems not as indicators of failure, but as opportunities to improve and fine-tune your plan.

This tip is adapted from “A Guide to Implementing the 4-Day Workweek,” by Ashley Whillans and Charlotte Lockhart

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