THE FOUR DAY WORK WEEK: Just how effective is it?
DOES THE FOUR DAY WORK WEEK LEAD TO INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY?
UMUC AMBA 600 Research Paper
The 4 day work week is not a new idea. It is one that has had its share of controversies over the years. Introduced in the 1970’s the idea of the 4 days work week has been making a comeback as of lately. There are several issues to look at here. One of the main statements in regards to it is that productivity will decrease because of fatigue. A 10 hour work day is too long. On the flipside, another of the main issues pointed out by proponents is that productivity will increase because you will have a workforce with ...view middle of the document...
What we have seen is that the idea of the four day work week has come and gone several times. There have also been several instances of the institution of the four day work week only to have it repealed some time later. An example of this is the State of Utah. As noted by Katherine Silbaugh (2010), the State of Utah instituted the reduced work week in 2008 for most state employees. The positive results were that most employees reported increased productivity and lower levels of stress. Another positive outcome was the saving of gasoline costs by employees and the cutting of greenhouse emissions for the state. However by 2011, the reduced work week was reversed. Although employee’s attitudes and opinions of the reduced work week were positive, it seems the state was not saving as much as it had envisioned. One would think that the employee’s welfare and stress levels would be the driving force behind the push to keep it, it seems as if it boiled down to money.
In 2009 a survey conducted by the Department of Human Resources Management found that more than eighty-two percent of the respondents wanted to continue with the reduced work week. Another survey conducted particularly for the residents of Utah found that sixty-two percent of respondents felt that the reduced work week was a good idea and was adequate enough to meet their needs as a community.
ASSUMPTIONS OF SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATIONS
Through analysis of previous implementations of the four day work week, four hypotheses were formulated to test its success. According to Hartman and Weaver (1977), these are:
-Hypothesis 1-Changes in productivity will have a significant impact on successful implementation of a four day work week.
-Hypothesis 2-Improved job satisfaction of the workforce has a significant impact on the successful implementation of the four day work week.
-Hypothesis 3-Changes in the rate of absenteeism will have a significant impact on successful implementation of the four day work week.
-Hypothesis 4-Changes in the turnover rate will have a significant impact on successful implementation of the four day work week.
The findings were surprising. The most significant impact was due to the first hypothesis. Productivity had indeed increased as a result of the implementation. The second hypothesis was also deemed to have a significant impact. Job satisfaction increased after the implementation. The last two hypotheses have little to no impact respectively. What this would seem to signal is that the two most important aspects, productivity and job satisfaction are the main beneficiaries of the reduced work week.
CONCERNS WITH IMPLEMENTATIONS
Just as there were assumptions made regarding the successful implementation of the reduced work week, there were also cautions associated with it. According to Gannon (1974), there are several reasons why caution should be used when implementing the four day work week. Here are several of those reasons: fatigue,...