4-Day Workweek | Scheduling | Workforce Management

The Future of Work? The 4-Day Workweek

4-day workweek-scheduling-workforce management

The 4-day workweek is a frequently discussed topic in today’s working world. The idea of shortening the traditional working week by one day has both supporters and opponents.

In some countries and companies around the world, it has already been introduced or employers are experimenting with different models. These include countries such as Belgium, New Zealand, Iceland and Sweden and companies in various industries from technology companies to small start-ups.


Contents

↓ What does a 4-day workweek mean?
↓ Where did the idea of a 4-day workweek originate?
↓ What different scheduling options are possible?
↓ WHow can workforce management assist with the implementation?
↓ Which aspects of workforce management are useful for introducing a 4-day workweek?
 

 


What does a 4-day workweek mean?

A 4-day workweek is a working time model that aims to shorten the traditional 5-day working week. This can be realized, for example, by adjusting the daily working hours (within the framework of the legal requirements) while maintaining the total working hours. However, working hours can also be adjusted to 4 days per week by reducing the total weekly working hours.

The idea behind the 4-day workweek is to increase employee productivity, improve work-life balance and increase employee satisfaction. However, this work structure requires careful planning and adaptation of work processes to maintain efficiency and hit business goals. A differentiated view must be taken into account, for example which time model is suitable for introduction. In terms of financial compensation for reduced working hours, this decision plays a significant role for both the employer and the employees. This is often not considered when discussing the efficiency or practicability of a 4-day workweek.

A 4-day workweek is more difficult to implement in some sectors such as care, retail and logistics than in sectors with a strong focus on administration or creative activities.
 

 


Where did the idea of a 4-day workweek originate?

The idea of the 4-day workweek has several origins. In the 1930s, some companies in the USA began to introduce shorter working weeks to increase productivity and reduce the workload of employees. The idea was discussed again in the 1970s, mainly in relation to the oil crisis and the need to save energy. Today, the 4-day week is often discussed in the context of working time flexibility, increased productivity, and work-life balance.
 

 


What different scheduling options are possible?

There are several variations of the 4-day workweek, depending on the needs and goals of a company or organization.

Compact 4-day workweek:

  • Working hours: 40 hours per week.
  • Distribution: 4 days of 10 hours each.
  • Advantage: One additional day off per week, often Friday or Monday.
  • Disadvantage: Long working days, which can be exhausting for some employees.

Shortened 4-day workweek:

  • Working hours: Reduced total working hours, e.g. 32 hours per week.
  • Distribution: 4 days of 8 hours each
  • Advantage: An additional day off and shorter daily working hours.
  • Disadvantage: Lower income if the reduced working hours are not compensated by a higher hourly wage.

Flexible 4-day workweek:

  • Working hours: Variable, often between 32 and 40 hours.
  • Distribution: Varies, depending on the agreement between employer and employee.
  • Advantage: High flexibility to individual needs.
  • Disadvantage: Planning and coordination can be complicated.

Part-time 4-day workweek:

  • Working hours: Less than the regular 40 hours, often 20-30 hours per week.
  • Distribution: 4 days with shorter hours.
  • Advantage: More free time and better work-life balance.
  • Disadvantage: Lower income and possibly fewer benefits.

Project-based 4-day workweek:

  • Working hours: Depending on the needs of the project, often flexible.
  • Distribution: 4 days per week, although the number of hours may vary depending on the project.
  • Advantage: Flexibility and focus on project work.
  • Disadvantage: Irregular hours and potentially higher workload during intensive project phases.

4-Day Workweek-advantages-disadvantages

Let’s summarize!

The different time models offer a wide range of options for organizing working time efficiently and flexibly. Each model has its advantages and disadvantages and should be individually adapted to the needs and conditions of the company and its employees. It is essential that there is clear communication and careful planning. Compliance with employment law and specific payroll accounting are key factors that need to be considered.

You are also welcome to read our blog post on maximum working hours.

 

 


How can workforce management assist with the implementation?

Workforce management can help with the implementation of a 4-day workweek by efficiently scheduling working hours and resources to ensure that productivity is maintained.

This can be done by optimizing shift scheduling and prioritizing tasks.

HR or workforce managers are challenged when it comes to coordinating working time models. Equality is one of many factors here. Furthermore, legal requirements must be observed. A daily working time of 10 hours is legally allowed in Germany but must be balanced out to the maximum average weekly working time of 48 hours over a period of 24 weeks. Requirements for pregnant women and trainees, among others, must also be considered.

4-Day Workweek- Calendar-Workforce Management-Scheduling
 

 


Which elements of WFM help with the introduction of a 4-day workweek?­

Digital and mobile time recording

Time recording always enables an overview of the employees’ attendance and absences. The times recorded digitally/mobile are checked and evaluated and processed further for payroll accounting or staff scheduling at the touch of a button. And all of this is done automatically, quickly, error-free and in compliance with rules and laws.

Efficient time management

A time management solution with integrated time recording has many advantages for companies in all sectors. Not only are employees given more personal responsibility, they also have an optimal and transparent overview of their time balances, overtime and absences at all times. This also significantly reduces the workload for HR. The automated and improved processes increase productivity and thus the profitability of the company.

Optimal staff scheduling

By analyzing workloads and using forecasting tools, companies can optimize staff scheduling. This is very important when introducing the 4-day workweek to ensure that all operational requirements are met during the reduced working hours. Staff scheduling can always be flexibly adapted to the specific requirements.

4-Day Workweek-plano-Workforce Management

 

Summary

The introduction of a 4-day workweek can be beneficial for companies and employees alike if implemented correctly. With the help of workforce management tools, companies can ensure that work processes are efficient and that employees’ working hours are optimally planned.

With the plano WFM solution, we support companies in introducing the 4-day workweek and ensure that all requirements are met, workflows remain efficient and employees’ working hours are optimally planned. The solution determines the exact personnel demand for your company and ensures that you always have the right number of employees in the right place at the right time with reliable forecasts and optimal planning recommendations.

With Dr. Scherf Schütt & Zander GmbH (SSZ Beratung) and XIMES GmbH, we have two strong partners at our side who can advise you on the implementation of suitable concepts for modern working time models. Together, we are building the bridge to fair and transparent staff scheduling with a focus on flexible shift scheduling with employee involvement.

Would you like to find out more?

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