According to the organizational psychologist Anthony Klotz, who coined the trend the ‘Great Resignation‘, the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led many workers to reconsider whether their jobs are serving them, resulting in mass resignations.
That’s the same thing that happened with the US-based non-profit educational organization, Healthwise. It was experiencing a mass resignation, and it had to take some prompt action. So, it reached out to labour economist Juliet Schor, who has studied the nature of work since the 1980s.
At Schor’s recommendation, the organization implemented a 4-day work week. In this new system, the employees are paid for five days of work while they only work for four days. They have found methods to reduce “inefficiencies and noise”, according to Healthwise CEO Adam Husney.
The result? The employees are more productive than ever, they value their jobs more, stress less, and have better lives outside of work. They are getting as much work done in a 4-day work week as they did in 5.
Healthwise employees are spending their Fridays off doing family activities like sports or errands. A mother of young children reported that she can now occasionally get a guilt-free pedicure.
As for the organization, they’re benefiting from lower turnover, higher-quality applicants along with saving on health care. This decision also led to an increase in Healthwise’s revenue along with increasing its customer satisfaction score.
As for the environment, the shorter work hours reduces carbon emissions: if people are commuting to and spending less time at the office, everybody’s carbon footprint goes down.
Battling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees all over the world are reconsidering their lifestyle choices and what they want from their lives.
While Schor admits that it’s not feasible for everyone to take advantage of a compressed four-day work week — namely public school teachers and frontline health care workers, pandemic-driven anxiety and burnout call for brave new experimentation in how we work and live.