Hello everybody! This is Jody Ann Johnson, People Strategist and Champion with the 97th episode of “Coffee with Jody”. Today we’re going to be talking some more about that very controversial Four-Day Work Week and why it might just be coming our way.
Remember back in March of 2020, when the country was talking about going on lock down and businesses were going to have to close, unless you were an essential business? We were thinking “How in the world are we going to make that work? How’s that going to actually work? People could work from home? but within a very short period of time, people figured out how to use Zoom, how to use Microsoft Teams, how to use Slack, in order to remain productive. And they got into a rhythm, into a routine of how to work productively from home and kept businesses going for the most part.
Well, now, as we’re moving toward returning to the workplace and children returning to school, people are pondering, “When I was working from home, I was able to take care of my kids. I was able to be at home with my pet. I was able to take care of an elderly or disabled family member. And I don’t know if I really want to go back to working the way I did.”
So we’ve begun to explore, what are the different ways that people could be flexible in having their employees, either working remotely, moving to a Four-Day Work Week, or some kind of a hybrid work environment.
The interesting thing is California Congressman Mark Takano has just introduced the Four-Day Work Week into legislation. Yea, he’s introduced this legislation and he has the backing of a number of other congressmen as well.
The idea that a Four-Day Work Week benefits both the employer and the employee with pilot programs around the world has been showing promising results, including an increase in productivity, work-life balance and morale in the workplace. Believe it or not, this legislation is backed by the AFL, CIO, the Economic Policy Institute and the National Employment Law Project. Now we expect that there will be some pushback from companies about this legislation.
And if you can think about how just a few years ago, the idea of working remotely was only available to very few employees and only a handful of businesses were offering that. Now we’ve shown over the last 18 months, that it is a very viable way for work to get done and that people are productive and the businesses are still thriving. Takano said: “At a time when the nature of work is rapidly changing, it’s incumbent upon us to explore all possible means of ensuring our modern business model prioritizes productivity, fair pay, and an improved quality of life for its workers”.
As we explore different ways to create greater work-life balance for our employees and for ourselves for that matter, it could be a 6 hour, a 10 hour or a 12 hour work day. I know I used to work 12 hour shifts 3 days a week and I thought it was awesome having four days off a week; because I could do so many other things that I needed and wanted to do in my life when I was in nursing.
The important thing is that we create an environment where the business gets what it needs and where the employee also gets what they need and know that together in a dialogue, we can create work-ability and happiness and actually have it all.
I’d like to hear what you’re thinking about this idea, what concerns or considerations you might have, or what are your actual reasons for your position so this dialogue can continue. I mean honestly, once it’s been introduced into legislation, then there’s enough momentum out in the world for this movement to take hold and end up in legislation.
Now, obviously we don’t expect it to be passed this year or maybe next year or the year after that. It took from 1926 to 1938 to get to a 5 day work week. Back when Henry Ford and the unions were talking about it in the twenties and thirties, however, it did actually end up happening so we can embrace it or resist it. And, there is momentum building for this particular concept and that’s why I want to engage you in it.
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