The Pandemic taught us a lot. For one, we now know that toilet paper is a much more precious commodity than we gave it credit for. But from a business perspective, Covid-19 has busted the myth that people must make their way to the office every day to get work done.
Employers from all sectors, like tech and accounting, are continually testing the waters of shortened workdays or shortened workweeks as a means of offering their employees additional work-life flexibility while boosting productivity and efficiency.
Below are some of the more common approaches employers are considering, which may provide a better understanding of what the future of work schedules will look like going forward.
The Four-Day Work Week
The premise behind the four-day workweek is simple: incentivize people to work longer days in exchange for an extra day off.
Already, several companies around the world are testing the idea of a four-day workweek. For example, in the IT and tech space, Microsoft Japan has been experimenting with a shorter workweek program.
And in Spain, the government is funding a three-year experiment that will see 200 companies reduce the workweeks of between 3,000 to 6,000 workers to four-day, 32-hour weeks.
While some may debate whether such a system could work, studies already show favorable results. For example, researchers in Iceland have found that a four-day workweek, without a pay cut, improved workers' well-being and productivity.
The Shortened Workday
Another rising future work schedule trend is the shortened workday.
Anyone working in an office knows how much time is wasted talking to co-workers, grabbing coffee, or sitting through unnecessary meetings. In short, most people are not really using the full eight hours of their workday.
And so, to incentivize people to be more productive while on the job, some companies are allowing their employees to escape the 9-5 and clock out early as long as the work is done. Instinctively, the concept makes sense. How many of us would save our Amazon shopping and mid-day gossip until after work if we knew we’d be out of the office by 2:00 PM?
It should be noted that these progressive approaches are even being adopted by large employers in traditional service industries like finance and accounting.
Some organizations are going even further than shortened workdays or workweeks by adopting the R.O.W.E. system.
R.O.W.E. stands for results-only work environment. Basically, R.O.W.E. is an HR strategy that focuses on paying employees based on their work output and not for the number of hours they work. Under R.O.W.E., Employees don't need to work a certain set of hours or in-office, so long as they meet their performance metrics.
This approach provides employees with the ultimate flexibility. If they get their work done, they can work wherever, whenever. There are several organizations using R.O.W.E, such as GitHub and JL Buchanan.
Employers in all industries are always trying to find ways of attracting new talent. And providing employees with flexible work schedules is a growing incentive tool.
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