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4 Day Work Week: Right For Your Business?

A 4 day work week is a new idea that started gaining traction in recent years, especially after the pandemic. It involves the reduction of total working hours by 1 working day a week, without any reduction in salary. The implementation of this varies from company to company and industry to industry. Some companies set a specific day off for all workers, while others provide a flexible working arrangement for employees  to choose their own time off.

Why Consider A 4 Day Work Week?

While the Employment Act in Singapore does not dictate a specific number of working days, it sets parameters for working hours that indirectly influence the overall work schedule. The increasing focus on mental health and work life balance encouraged the idea of a 4 day work week. Employees are prioritising wellbeing, prompting employers to adapt. Work-from-home options and shorter work weeks like the 4-day model aim to improve job satisfaction, potentially attracting and retaining talent.

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Global Trials And Promising Results

Countries like the United States and New Zealand have conducted trials, allowing companies to experiment with this approach for six months. The results are encouraging:

However, are 4 day work week really better for companies?

In this article, we will list out the pros and cons of this flexible working arrangement, and weigh them to determine if it is right for your company.

Benefits Of A 4 Day Work Week

Of course, the popularity of a 4 day work week is not unfounded. This flexible working arrangement offers many benefits to employees, employers, and even the environment. Let us dive into the major pros that you should consider when deciding whether this arrangement works for you. 

1. Improved Motivation

The prospect of a three-day weekend boosts employee morale and engagement. Feeling valued by the company improves mental health, leading to increased motivation and potentially higher performance.

2. Cost Savings

Reduced office hours translate to lower operational costs for utilities, supplies, etc. Additionally, improved job satisfaction and retention reduce expenses associated with recruiting and training new employees.

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3. Increased Productivity

A decrease in working hours does not necessarily mean that productivity decreases. In fact, the opposite is true.. With a shorter work week and better work life balance, employees will be more motivated and hence avoid distractions, making the most of their limited working hours. This heightened focus can lead to improved productivity and quality output.

4. Talent Acquisition And Retention

Job seekers today prioritise work-life balance and mental health. Companies offering a 4 day work week gain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining top talent. It also shows your commitment to employee well-being, fostering loyalty.

5. Sparking Creativity And Innovation

The longer weekend allows employees to recharge and potentially unleash their creative potential. They return refreshed, ready to taackle challenges with fresh perspectives and innovative solutions.

Challenges Of A 4 Day Work Week

While promising, the 4 day work week isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Here is what Singapore businesses need to consider:

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1. Industry Impact

The impact of a 4 day work week differs across industries. Customer-facing businesses like F&B may struggle with scheduling and understaffing on certain days, potentially leading to longer waits and compromised customer service. However, the creative sector might benefit from the extra recharge time for creative thinking. Finance industry, notorious for long hours, might see mixed results. Some may continue working the same way, negating the purpose of the flexible work arrangement.

2. Communication And Collaboration Challenges

Choosing individual off days can make scheduling in-person meetings or trainings difficult, especially for time-sensitive issues. A successful flexible work model requires meticulous planning, strong communication and coordination. In the adjustment period, be prepared for projects to move slower, and decision-making to slow down. 

3. Potential Productivity Dips

Even though a shorter work week can enhance productivity for some employees, in certain circumstances, others may face a decrease in productivity. Understaffing on some days could lead to increased workload and stress, impacting productivity. In severe cases, job satisfaction may suffer greatly and employee turnover rates may increase.

4. Long Transition Period

Coordinating schedules, especially for client-facing roles, can be challenging. Management will have to take time to plan and figure out the best way to arrange employees’ schedules. Productivity may decline during this transition period, as employees will need to get used to their new working arrangements.

5. Profitability Concerns

With the long transition period and decreased productivity, profitability may suffer. Employee stress due to the new schedule may decrease performance, and customer dissatisfaction from longer wait times could lead to lost sales.

SME business financing and working capital loan in Singapore for 4 day work week

Finding The Right Fit

The pros and cons are subjective and depend on the industry your business is in, as well as your company’s own circumstances. Certain types of businesses will certainly perform better with 4 day work weeks as compared to others. Companies in the creative industry will see better results than those in the F&B industry, while 9-to-5 workers will benefit more than shift workers.

In general, those that have already successfully implemented work from home days will definitely be better able to adapt to 4 day work weeks. Additionally, while it is not stipulated in the Employment Act, a statement was published by the Ministry of Manpower to encourage more employers to adopt flexible work arrangements on a permanent basis.

Ultimately, the foolproof way to tell if such flexible working arrangements can benefit your company is to try it out yourself. Pilot this arrangement for at least 3 months to see its pros and cons specific to your business, and you will be able to make a clear and well informed decision. Employee well-being is key to a flourishing business. Explore options to enhance their well-being, regardless of the work week structure.

Ready to invest in employee wellbeing and boost productivity? Poss Capital helps businesses navigate the financial side of transitioning to a 4-day week. Get access to flexible funding with transparent terms and unlock your optimal working arrangement. Contact us today to learn how.

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