Why the 4-Day Week Fad Misses the Point

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

So, I see we're all 4-day week evangelists today?

No bandwagon for me folks. Jury is not only out but I'm deeply conflicted on what this new fad is telling me. For all the intended and unintended good consequences of such an initiative, it screams to me:

- That bosses are signposting just how poorly they ran their businesses previously under a 5-day week regime. How much distraction of employees did they absorb and how little productivity or value creation did they see?

- Has any of this tackled the core fundamental problems around the real reasons for employee disengagement - the toxic behaviours, the old command and control tropes, the endless meetings, the badly designed organisation or the sheer lack of growth? Are we just opting to see less of these?

- The business world we operate within doesn't reflect hard demarcations around 80% working weeks, client demand or the next unforeseen tsunami to land. No less than it did under the old century-old, Taylorist 5-day week.

Maybe this is just another first-world problem to make many consultancy firms or HR exceptionalists happy. Maybe it's a post-pandemic fix to those who spent a lot of time re-assessing life goals and have decided to just spend less time in a place they have come to hate more. I get that.

But does that fix work?

No, of course it doesn't. I think people want flexibility. They want clear goals, an opportunity to grow, and the chance to work hard to get great results. Work matters to many people & organisations need to create value for markets to keep it afloat. Employees don't want to be constricted by their employer. I think the 4-day working week misses that fact completely and I'm setting my own watch for the arrival of the 3-day evangelists coming soon, to a disengaged, unproductive workplace near you.

Be ready or be square.....

Don't want to blindly follow the bandwagon, then why not consider hiring me on a fractional basis, gaining the unique advantage of a seasoned HR practitioner on a part-time or ad hoc basis, to help you develop an effective principle-led People & Talent strategy.

Find out more at www.barryflack.co.uk or get in touch directly via me@barryflack.co.uk for an initial conversation.

#4dayweek #culture #HR

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