Job redesign: Why the four-day workweek could be the answer

Josh Bersin’s study unveils the four-day workweek’s impact on wellbeing, productivity, and business growth amid the shift to hybrid work.
By: | December 1, 2023

A revolutionary concept is gaining traction in the ever-evolving work landscape—the four-day workweek. A recent study spearheaded by Josh Bersin, Global Industry Analyst and CEO of The Josh Bersin Company, painted a compelling narrative of this innovative work arrangement, unveiling its impact on employee wellbeing, productivity, and overall business growth.

Results from a pilot programme involving 61 UK-based organisations showed that, when implemented well, this model improves employee health, boosts productivity, and drives overall enhancements in revenue, profit, and customer service.

In the wake of the pandemic-induced shift to hybrid work, major organisations like Nasa, Microsoft Japan, Unilever, Shake Shack, and Panasonic have embraced experiments with work-time reduction. The study indicated that organisations focusing on efficiency in meetings, productivity improvement, and accountability clarification witness heightened employee engagement, accompanied by increased revenue and profitability.

Challenging the historical construct of the five-day workweek, the study suggested that remote work, flexible schedules, and AI-powered systems allow organisations to operate beyond traditional boundaries. The four-day workweek is positioned as a strategic tool for organisations to be more efficient, offering employees a more flexible and fulfilling life.

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In a quote from the study, Bersin noted, “If squeezing five days of work into four is a concern for leadership, one consideration is Parkinson’s Law, which states, ‘Work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion.’ In other words, employees will fill the time they have to complete tasks. If we reduce the time available, we surprise ourselves with how much we’re able to complete.”

And as AI and automation continue to reshape the workplace, Bersin anticipates further advancements in work design and scheduling that will unlock the true potential of the four-day workweek.