4-day Workweek Model
The 4-day-workweek model has begun to emerge in many countries since it helps increase productivity, reduce business operating costs, etc.
According to CNN, 3,000 employees spanning 70 companies in the UK started a four-day workweek trial on June 6 based on the 100:80:100 model – employees receive 100% pay for 80% of the time in exchange for a commitment to maintaining 100% productivity. This working model has increased employee productivity as well as saved operating costs such as transportation expenses, office supplies, etc. For example, Microsoft Japan has saved 23% of the electricity used, and 59% of paper during the trial of this model, according to the Guardian.
However, the 4-day-workweek model has its inherent disadvantages for both employees and businesses if not applied in the right way and at the right time. Reducing working hours and still maintaining 100% of salary is an advantage, but to get the same amount of work done in a less amount of time is a pressure. This can cause employee burnout and affect the business operation.
Arranging days off is not simple since “so many men, so many minds”, some employees might want to have a day off on Monday, others on Friday or in the middle of the week. Besides, the feasibility when applied to some other industries such as education, healthcare, etc. is something that businesses need to take into consideration if they intend to implement this working model.
While many businesses around the world have adopted the 4-day-a-week working model, many Vietnamese businesses still work 6 days a week. "In order to keep up with the global trend, Vietnamese managers need to change their management mindset which is based on employee’s performance instead of working hours, thereby creating flexibility for employees as well as improving productivity. Although there are many obstacles, businesses can fully apply this 4-day workweek model if they dare to change.", said Ms. Tiêu Yến Trinh, CEO of Talentnet.
In order to gradually implement the 4-day workweek model, employees and businesses can refer to the steps suggested by Ms. Trinh to be ready for the transition.
Developing the habits of managing time and tasks: to avoid stress and pressure when working time is shortened. Employees can use tracking tools like Toggl or Harvest to schedule deadlines and tasks.
Utilizing automated function: For repetitive or manual tasks, workers can have them automated so as to save time and focus on important tasks by pre-scheduling social media posts, creating auto-reply emails, and automatically filling out online forms with just a click, etc.
Implementing hybrid working model: Businesses can apply hybrid working before shortening employee working hours. Hybrid working is a good preparation to help employees to be more flexible in working and arranging tasks and allow them to freely arrange work, thereby reducing the pressure when implementing the 4-day workweek model - which requires employees to be productive in solving tasks compared to the 5 days working model.
To limit the risks when switching from working 5 days to 4 days per week, businesses should pilot this model to a small group of employees before applying it to the whole company. In addition, HR outsourcing service is also a solution to reduce administrative work and procedures for employees and help optimize time for other strategic tasks.
"The 4-day workweek model brings many benefits to employees and businesses but can turn into a “double-edged sword” if it is not applied in the right way and at the right time. Businesses should understand the consequences and benefits when applying the 4-day workweek model as well as focus on employee desires and abilities. More importantly, employees also need to have their mindsets prepared and working styles changed to be ready for the implementation," Ms. Trinh concluded.