Jody Ann Johnson here with the 75th episode of “Coffee with Jody” Today we’re going to be talking about the creativity, imagination and innovation age, the four day work week and employee engagement. Stay tuned. It’s an interesting conversation.
My most recent client came to me with the idea of creating a summit in 2022 on the research and merits of a 4- Day Workweek. Now it’s my job to see that my clients reach their goals and dreams, and I have to tell you at first, I was like, no, I don’t know if the world is really ready for that. But okay, let’s look at it, let’s explore.
However, in my research on the topic I found, this is not a new conversation. It’s probably got about two decades of research and an ongoing dialogue about the merits of a 4-Day Workweek. Many people went to a 4-Day Workweek during the Pandemic, reducing hours, due to the uncertainty of what was going on, you know, not really knowing what was happening, including us!
We restored the 4 Day-Workweek to a 5-Day Workweek when we got the first round of the PPP money, yet a lot of people kept that 4-Day Workweek and found that they could get everything they needed to get done. Now, there may be an argument that there was less work, however, for some companies there wasn’t less work at all.
One of the most recent articles I read on the topic was from Bloomberg. It was actually published last week on the 4-Day Workweek where the CEO Adam Ross ,of AWIN, which is a tech company, said during the Pandemic, they went to half day Fridays to kind of ease into the weekend. Then at the beginning of 2021, they decided to go all in with Fridays off and found that even though they had not reduced salaries or benefits of any kind, they were just as productive. Now they’re doing a year-long trial ensure viability and document it.
As we look back in time, I was surprised to find that it was actually Henry Ford, who came up with the concept of the weekend in 1926, by 1932 that became law in the U S. Prior to that, it was a 6 & 7 Day Workweek. So we’ve been moving in this direction actually now for a while.
France had gone to a 35-Day Workweek almost 20 years ago. Spain is considering the 4-Day Workweek for their government workers and other countries such as Japan are also looking at the merits of a 4-Day Workweek. So it’s not an entirely new conversation, the way I thought it might have been when this client first started talking to me about it.
Now, why do I bring it up? The innovation that’s required to solve all of the world’s greatest challenges, namely those that the United Nations has in their Sustainable Development Goals requires the currency of creativity, imagination, and innovation. However, people can’t bring that forth when they’re exhausted.
Everyone went through a pretty rough year, whether it was emotionally or being out of work or financial challenges, or even having businesses that were running very well but were at max capacity. There is a certain level of exhaustion out in the world. After dealing with this for a year, I’m bringing this conversation forward because as business owners, we want to be engaging in a dialogue and looking at the research and testing and measuring whether or not this is something that could work for us and our companies.
And it certainly is one of the things that they’re seeing in the recruitment job sites is people looking for a 4-Day Workweek. So it behooves us to actually begin to truly explore this as a possibility. This idea of the 4-Day Workweek could go a long, long way to having employees be more engaged because they’re less exhausted, less stressed and are able to manage their day in and day out lives a little bit better.
With the half a billion dollar cost to US businesses per year from disengaged employees, it’s something for us to consider. I know it’s controversial, yet I do think it’s time for us to begin to talk about the merits of a 4-Day Workweek.
If you enjoyed this video, please like it, share it and subscribe to my YouTube channel, where we’ll be having much more dialogue on this topic and others related to employee engagement.
That’s it. Bye for now.