Four-day workweek's appeal may be overshadowed by health issues
- Four-day workweeks seem appealing to many workers in the U.S. and abroad, but have hidden dangers, writes Quartz. The four-day workweek is usually four 10-hour days instead of the traditional eight-hour days.
- Employers toyed with the idea of adopting a four-day workweek back in the 1980s. Some employers view the shortened workweek as a way to lower overhead costs by using less energy or reducing commuting time. Workers like the shortened week so they can have more family or leisure time.
- But a shortened workweek means longer workdays. Quartz says studies show that increased fatigue and stress occur in employees who work a 12-hour day or more, or a 60-hour week. Another study shows that compressed workweeks raise the incidence of industrial accidents by 31%.
Compressed workweeks might have more benefits than disadvantages for workers overall. But employers shouldn’t overlook study results showing that compressed work schedules can cause employees stress and fatigue, and raise the risk of accidents.
While four-day workweeks are particularly common in the summer time for some employers, the benefits may not carry over all year round. Tired workers aren’t likely to be productive or maintain productivity over time. Also, they might not have as much energy as they’d like to spend time with families or devote to leisure activities.
Employers that are thinking about adopting a compressed workweek schedule may also want to consider the bonuses of flexible work environments, which provide workers with the freedom to work from home when needed, instead of pushing all work into four days.