The four-day workweek: Why it is more than just a number

An ongoing pulse survey by HRM Asia measures the readiness of organisations in Asia to adopt a four-day workweek.
By: | July 2, 2024

On paper, it appears to be a no-brainer. Given a choice, it is hard to imagine many employees declining the opportunity to adopt a four-day workweek.

In Singapore for instance, a recent ADP survey revealed that nearly a third of employees in Singapore expect a four-day workweek to be the norm within the next five years. In Indonesia, an ongoing trial allows employees from the Ministry of State-owned Enterprises to request for four-day workweeks every fortnight.

For advocates, the four-day workweek increases productivity, enhances employee wellbeing and organisations’ ability to attract and retain the best talent.

Yet, ambiguity continues to surround the practicalities of a four-day workweek. For some organisations, particularly customer-facing ones, a four-day workweek is simply a non-starter. For others, there is the not inconsiderable challenge of defining the structure of a four-day workweek that works best for their organisations.

4 Day Week Global, a non-profit organisation, offers an arguably idealistic 100:80:100 model for the four-day workweek. In such a work model, employees can be expected to receive 100% pay for 80% of their time, with the caveat that they maintain 100% output.

Unfortunately, the reality may not be as simple as it appears. While organisational goals need to be balanced against the feasibility of a four-day workweek, it is perhaps far more critical to understand what employees truly want.

“Although many employees prefer a four-day workweek as an innovative benefit, it may not work for all employees,” Saikat Chatterjee, Senior Director, People Advisory – EMEA & APAC, said. “Seeking employee feedback via pulse surveys is an effective way to gauge employee interest and predict participation.”

READ MORE: How a four-day workweek helped cut burnout in half for this company

With more employees seeking flexibility in the workplace, discussions around the four-day workweek will invariably continue, even if there are no clear indicators that the entrenched five-day workweek will be completely replaced any time soon.

However, with more employees seeking flexibility in the workplace, is your organisation considering implementing a four-day workweek? Click here to join the conversation around the four-day workweek and share with HRM Asia your thoughts and opinions on this emerging work trend!

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