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It’s no surprise that many people like the idea of a four-day work week.
Convincing your employer to test it out, on the other hand, may not be an easy task.
Only a small number of employers offer a four-day policy, however, 40 companies in the US and Canada are currently piloting the shortened schedule through a program run by 4 Day Week Global.
On Monday, 70 businesses with a total of 3,300 workers in the UK began their own six-month pilots. Later this year, the organization expects to launch a second North American pilot program.
The idea is that employees work 80% of the time for 100% of the pay and maintain 100% productivity. Therefore, it does not mean less work. What it comes down to is working more efficiently, including cutting back on unnecessary meetings.
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Thanks to the intense interest from workers, 4 Day Week Global has started offering workshops on how to persuade your company to trial a four-day week.
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, global programs and development manager for 4 Day Week Global, believes leaders can be convinced.
“My sense is the resistance is not around ‘Is it possible to work a four-day week?'” He said.
“The resistance comes around ‘Is it possible in our company? Is it possible given our market?'” He added. “It is more a conversation around strategy and tactics and not philosophy.”
To be sure, a four-day work week will not be a good fit for every business or every industry.
Here’s what you should know before you approach your employer to ask that a four-day work week be tested, according to Pang.
Address real issues
Do not just make an appeal based on your desire to work fewer days. Instead, you should address everyday challenges the company is facing, said Pang, who will be leading the workshops.
“It should be presented as a solution to challenges of recruitment and retention and burnout and work / life balance sustainability,” Pang advised.
To be sure, many experts believe four-day work weeks could help employers attract and retain talent.
“Offering shortened work weeks certainly gives employers an edge in hiring,” said Dave Fisch, CEO of career website Ladders.
“For employers unwilling to adjust their policies to reflect the demand for flexibility, they are at risk of losing talented people and could struggle to replace them,” he added.
2. Do your homework
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Before you make your case, do some digging to figure out how a shortened week can work in your company. Perhaps identify a division or segment of the company that can test it out first, Pang suggested.
If possible, identify what can be eliminated during the workday to improve efficiency, such as excess meetings, or perhaps what can be automated for outsourced.
“Studies tell us that office workers lose about two to three hours of productive time every day to overly-long meetings, to technology distractions, to interruptions in the office,” Pang said.
“What that tells us is the four-day week is already here; it is just buried under outmoded ways of working.”
3. Establish benchmarks
Come armed with suggestions of what benchmarks need to be met in order for the trial to be deemed a success.
“The last thing you want is to have a trial where you feel everyone feels it went well but then the CEO says we’re going back to five days because of these reasons,” Pang said.
If you face resistance after you make the pitch, ask leaders what evidence would clarify the decision for them.
Perhaps that would be more data from a similar or competing organization or something else that can show how it may work.
5. Cast the leader as the protagonist
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