NFP Compensation Insights | August 2022
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Four-Day Workweeks are Getting More Attention
As companies continue to struggle with attraction and retention challenges, employers are exploring more creative options to entice workers. Remote work, flexible schedules, better pay and benefits are some common ways organizations have been coping with workplace challenges. But, recently we have seen more conversations around a less conventional approach – a four-day workweek.
In this month’s Compensation Insights, we share some information on this topic we hope you find helpful if perhaps your organization is considering this option. Ultimately, companies will need to evaluate this possibility and determine if it would be right for them, their industry, and more importantly, their employees.
By Matt Brown
Despite remote working exponentially increasing over the last two years, the standard workweek has continued to be five days, which became the standard roughly 80 years ago. You might be wondering why five-day workweeks are in place and the answer is fairly straightforward: Henry Ford believed shifting to five days instead of six would improve prosperity in America. Many other companies followed in Ford’s footsteps and adopted the five-day workweek, even though at the time it was considered a radical concept. Shortly after, the 40-hour workweek became law in 1940 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Can the U.S. Embrace a Four-day Workweek?
When Wharton management professor Matthew Bidwell first came to the United States from England in the 1990s, he was struck by the dogged American work ethic.
“It was a culture that was much more organized around work than in the U.K. When I was growing up, there wasn’t quite the same heroism about long hours,” he recalled, adding that workaholics in Britain were regarded as people who needed to get their priorities in order.
More companies are trying out the 4-day workweek. But it might not be for everyone
On a recent summer Friday, 59-year old LaDonna Speiser takes her grand-nephew to the pool and helps her mother-in-law with errands. She visits the eye doctor and makes an appointment with a physical therapist. She even spends some time reading on the patio. She’s able to do all this because her employer, a company called Healthwise, offers her a four-day workweek.
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