6 Reasons Why The 4-Day Work Week Might Actually Happen (And Soon!)

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As the world is opening back up, we are not going back to what once was. Instead, we are creating a new reality based on things discovered — or remembered — during our personal life reviews. This is incredibly exciting!

One of these is the possibility of switching to a four-day work week.

For some people, the changes in their lives in the past year were not asked for or even welcomed. However, there are so many subtle differences in the world now that didn’t exist before, and some of them are pretty great.

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Here are 6 reasons why it may be time to switch to a four-day work week.

1. More people want to continue working from home.

Studies, such as the Ultimate List of Remote Work Statistics 2021 published by Findstack, have shown working from home has been a resounding success for most companies!

Yes, there are some industries where this just isn’t possible.

However, many are truly thriving having no commute, being able to spend more time with loved ones, and building in personal time for themselves around their job. It's a win-win for both the employer and the employee.

Furthermore, a five-year study just completed in Iceland found a four-day workweek was a resounding success!

Among countries with four-day work week proposals in plan include Spain and the U.K. Both have pending studies to explore the same, while just a handful of U.S.-based companies are exploring the same.

This is powerful stuff!

2. Many parents, especially women, are leaving the workforce.

Yes, Covid had a huge impact on professional women. The pandemic basically undid over 25 years of progress for women in the workplace and there’s no telling how long it will take for women to catch back up.

Women already carried the heavier load of home and childcare prior to now.

According to McKinsey & Co/Lean In 2020 women in the workplace, 40 percent of mothers (compared to 27 percent of fathers) have added three or more additional hours of caregiving a day to their schedule.

That's 15 or more hours a week, which is the equivalent of a considerable part-time job.

For those leaving the workforce, the cost and availability of childcare impacted their decision. For others, they recognized the finite time they have with their children and families.

There's also the realization that they will not get a second chance to watch their children grow up. These are the people choosing to either leave or downsize their roles in order to be closer to home for loved ones.

3. New businesses, startups, and entrepreneurships emerged.

One surprise was the number of people who chose not to return to the workforce because they instead are choosing to go the entrepreneurial route.

The last year created plenty of space for folks to revisit ideas and business models they had put on the back burner for too long.

It turns out that this was a perfect time for many to tap into these dropped projects and long-term dreams and take the risk to make them a reality.

While it's true that the spike in unemployment was worse in America than in other rich nations, it's also true that the U.S. saw the largest number of new business applications on record in the third quarter of 2020. Businesses will have a hard time competing with the trend, unless they consistently offer greater benefits like a four-day work week. 

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4. Many are undergoing career changes.

Round peg, square hole, right? Some people realized that they don't really like being in their career, after all. So, they took the opportunity during lockdown to take online classes or explore a new career path.

Others are taking their skill set and revamping them to work in a different industry.

Those in healthcare and hospitality have had especially high levels of talent departures, with reasons ranging from burnout, low wages, and risk tolerance for Covid safety in the workplace.

Still, others are still searching for that elusive work-life balance and a higher quality of life than their current career provides. The companies that provide them, a four-day work week included, are going to reap the benefits of the best employees. 

5. Many discover their own personal values — and that they matter.

Many companies "express" or "post" their values yet operate completely out of alignment with them. It's simply lip-service to impress their clients and those who work there know it.

Many have discovered that their company isn’t "there" for them as human beings. These people found that they value themselves more than a paycheck, and, instead, want to work for a company that genuinely shares their values.

This is also having a huge impact on where customers choose to spend their hard-earned dollars. Values matter now more than ever. 

6. Many now refuse to settle for low-paying jobs, high-risk jobs, and poor work environments.

If I hear one more person say workers don’t want to go back to work because of government unemployment subsidies, I’m going to barf. There are so many additional layers of gray here. Seriously.

Did you ever work in fast food? How about a 24-hour convenience store? Ever clean offices or pick tobacco on a farm? I’ve done all these jobs as a teenager growing up. No one could ever make a living wage off any of these jobs.

Pay a living wage and you’ll have loyal employees who are able to provide for their families and enjoy some quality of life. It isn’t too much to ask for.

And people are no longer just asking for it. They are demanding it. Everyone wants better for themselves and everyone deserves it. Better wages and benefits equal higher productivity. 

What do you think of this four-day work week proposal?

Last year, 2020 gave nearly the entire world an opportunity to review their lives and many are now making new and different choices based on what they discovered about themselves.

There's an incredible number of new startups, an explosion of others going into solopreneurship, early retirement, company switching (for the right place that shares one's personal values), and even complete career changes and overhauls.

A four-day work week can make room for more work-life balance and happier employees that can produce more because they'll be more satisfied with their lives all around. It's way past time that employers began offering real value to their workers instead of just squeezing them for all they have. 

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Rachelle Stone is a Burnout-Prevention Coach specializing in helping others in avoiding burnout by managing their stress and energy for expanded capacity, better relationships, and increased monetary success. She is addicted to Pilates, rescuing Pugs and maintaining her best mental fitness possible. Opt into Rachelle’s newsletter or, for more information about burnout coaching, visit her website.