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Leon Kaye headshot

Could the Four-Day Workweek Be the Answer for the Great Resignation?

By Leon Kaye
Great Resignation

At last check, 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in one month alone. Overriding evidence suggests employees are leaving not over money but over how they are treated in the workplace. While CEOs have indicated that employees fleeing for the exits is their top concern, everyone is struggling to find their own solution for the Great Resignation. And based on the headlines, the struggle is real.

Create better jobs,” says the current U.S. Secretary of Labor.

“If consumers want the continued convenience of a 24/7 economy, it is necessary to consider what price they are willing to pay for that convenience,” wrote economics professor Laura J. Owen as she insisted workers in the service sector should score improved benefits, from vacation time to the choice to participate in retirement plans.

Plus, concerns about the ongoing pandemic have pushed workers to find remote work out of fears for their safety, as well as worries about childcare and coping with other family challenges.

If you’re in a mood to doom-scroll and reading this on your phone, Buzzfeed just posted 33 different stories from workers who got fed up, left their jobs and in turn have kept fueling this Great Resignation.

At a time when employees are proving that they are more productive working from home, it may be time for companies to take a hard look at the four-day workweek.

The data suggest the four-day workweek train may already be leaving the station. Across the pond, 30 companies in the U.K. will participate in a six-month pilot program to see if such a change would actually work out.

One company that is launching the four-day, 32-hour workweek is Bolt, a fintech company based in San Francisco. “I think everyone thinks, ‘Oh, there’s no way you can grow fast and execute while working a four-day week,'” Ryan Breslow, the company’s CEO, told Fast Company in an interview earlier this month. “We’re showing just the opposite.”

Time and again, employees are intrigued by the idea of moving from a 40-plus hour workweek to one that that is 32 (plus?) hours. One survey taken last fall found that 83 percent of employees are all-in on the idea. Further, 87 percent said they would work longer hours daily to get that extra day off. But there’s a trade-off: Almost 60 percent said trading in a shorter workweek for a smaller paycheck is a nonstarter.

To that end, companies including Kickstarter and even Japan’s iconic Panasonic are testing out the shorter workweek.

Reducing burnout could certainly help curb the Great Resignation. “A two-day weekend is not sufficient to recharge after a long, tedious workweek. One day consists of running errands, shopping for groceries, doing the laundry, tending to your children, doing work around the house or yard and the endless list of chores,” Jack Kelly for Forbes recently wrote. “You’re probably checking Slack and emails and doing catch-up work on Sunday night. Monday morning rolls in and you're still exhausted.”

On that point, many employees may tell you that in reality, they’d be scaling down from a six-day workweek if one accounts for those Saturday morning and Sunday night check-ins to prepare for the upcoming week.

Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

Leon Kaye headshot

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

Read more stories by Leon Kaye