15 February 2021

Why don't we work 4 days a week?


First there has been the rise of teleworking and now many voices are calling for a 4-day working week, extending weekends from 2 to 3 days. The relevant question is whether such a plan would boost workers' efficiency and productivity 

Have you considered implementing this measure in your law firm? 

Some studies attest that productivity increases if the 4 working days are established. For example, a study conducted by Microsoft Japan has shown that reducing the working week to 4 days increases worker productivity by 40%. In turn, more than 90% of the workers stated that it was a positive measure to shorten the working days per week from 5 to 4 days.

The results of this study showed that firms accomplished the same work in less working time. The firm did not measure the productivity of the workers, but measured the tasks that each worker performed.

This experiment has been carried out to perfection in New Zealand, where leading New Zealand companies such as Perpetual Guardian and Unliever have established a permanent 4-day working week, significantly increasing the performance of their workforces. 

This commitment to reduce working days for employees implies a major challenge: a change of culture. Companies have to see this new measure as a tool to increase the effectiveness and productivity of their workers, but it also has to guarantee greater well-being in the company. 

It is clear that this new working model cannot be applied to all companies, as labour intensive companies cannot afford to reduce working hours during the week. This new model is ideal for companies that use Internet tools to store their data, that use agile working methodologies, that have a strong corporate culture.  

Another disadvantage could be a possible lack of coordination between a firm that works 4 days a week and a supplier or collaborator that works 5 days a week, which could slow down projects. 

In short, each firm has to assess whether it is worthwhile to apply the 4-day working week, as this is a strong commitment and implies a change in corporate culture. The results will be seen once this innovative measure has been applied.

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