Eco Tip #17 Four-Day Work Week: The Case for Saving the Planet While Making Employees Happier.
The transition from fully-presencial office hours to remote work kickstarted a new technologic era for many of us... but you already know that.
However, have you considered the environmental impact of this model, and more so, the possibility of a hybrid paradigm taking over? Hard datafrom specialized agencies backs up the fact that during the massive outflux from offices:
● Americans reported gaining back control of their time, reducing their commute. New York City reported the highest average, with 15.2% time gained back from not commuting, followed by Chicago with 13.1%.
● A significant reduction in paper usage was perceived. Americans use 85 million tons of paper each year, so cutting back through digitalization is an unexpected net positive of remote work.
● Breathe London data noticed a decrease in carbon emissions of 25% during the typical morning commute and 34% during the evening commute.
● 39.5% of workers are aware that remote working makes their carbon footprint lower and are enthusiastic about this metric.
However, of course, there are many companies and people that don't particularly like remote work. Workers against remoteness report feeling like their home and work lives have suddenly been aggressively merged, and companies in specific industries report difficulties making a transition. Data also suggests that:
● There has been general discomfort with the way governments have transitioned into remote models.
● Without teams working closely together in a more 'human' context, there is a perceived sense of difficulty brainstorming, innovating, and bonding within teams.
So, how do you reconcile both? Some suggest 4-day work weeks.
A four-day week, or compressed work schedule proposes limiting the 'working week' to four days per week rather than five. The data that we'll show within this article refers to the first of the following three examples, although there are many proponents of these arrangements. There are three types of four-day weeks:
● Taking one day off the week (typically a Friday) without altering the rest of the arrangement.
● Giving employees/students half-days or remote days on a given day of the week.
● Compressing the typical 40-hour work week into four days of ten hours each.
There have been reported benefits for the implementation of this system, including:
● Research by Henley Business School said that companies with four-day weeks (4DWWs) found that 78% of staff members were happier, less stressed (70%), and took fewer sick days.
● 4DWWs have already saved UK businesses an estimated £92 billion per year.
● 63% of employers say that 4DWWs helped them attract and retain talent.
● Gender specialists have pointed out that this model is helping women stay employed in contexts where they're required to assume disproportionally large domestic responsibilities.
● The University of Massachusetts predicts that "if we spent 10% less time working, our carbon footprint would be reduced by 14.6%, largely due to less commuting or grabbing high-carbon convenience foods on our breaks. A full day off a week would therefore reduce our carbon footprint by almost 30%."
Can this work for you? There is only one way to test it.
Whether you're an employee or a business owner, we encourage you to propose any version of a 4DWW for you or your organization if you think this could result in improved results. After all, we all could benefit from taking less sick days, being less stressed and happier.
And, of course... the planet will always be happy to receive an extra hand!