Guest Post by Caylin Batt, BCPWN Intern
Regardless of what you do or where you work, there’s no disputing the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way we work and live. The constant uncertainty, isolation, and ever-changing guidelines have forced nearly every working American to adapt to a new normal, and have caused an increase in stress and burnout.
In New York City, some companies have begun experimenting with four-day work weeks in an effort to combat employee burnout, while others have already gone as far as to implement it company-wide. Kevin Daley, reporter for the The New York Times, wrote that a children’s clothing company called Primary began giving everyone Friday off in May of 2020. The company’s new schedule proved beneficial and was extended indefinitely that December. Soon after, several other companies followed Primary’s lead and either shortened their work week or announced that they plan to, including Kickstarter and Shake Shack.
The primary goal for shortening the work week is to prevent employee burnout during these trying times, as well as hopefully reinstate some sort of work-life balance. Elephant Ventures, a software company based in New York, also experimented with an extra day off, but had their employees work longer hours Monday-Thursday (10 hour days). KSAT News reported that it took several weeks for employees to adjust to their new routines, but “... after the first three-day weekend, workers returned feeling rested and excited. But at the end of that week they felt the toll of longer days…” (Jimenez). This experiment demonstrated that the shortened work week was beneficial for the employees, as well as the company itself. Workers were able to spend more time with their children/family, and some even began planning ahead in order to take advantage of the extra day. As for the company, it was reported that there was an increase in efficiency because longer work days allowed for projects to be finished rather than dragged out for multiple days (Jimenez/Massey).
How would you feel about a four-day work week? What other option can be considered to better balance employee and customer/client needs? Comment below...