Category Archives: Remote Work

Largest Four-Day Workweek Trial Underway

Recently, there has been a demand by employees to cut back on days in the office. After two years of the pandemic, people want to work from home, spend more time with loved ones, and just have more flexibility in general. While many companies have adopted the hybrid model to accommodate these sentiments, some have taken a more extreme stance.

For the past 8 weeks, the world’s largest four-day workweek trial has been running in England. About 3,300 employees from 73 different companies have taken on the task of producing 100% while working only 80%, still earning their regular salary. And while this endeavor does come with some inherent challenges, an overwhelming majority of participants are absolutely loving it.

The program is being spearheaded by the nonprofit “4 Day Week Global.” Andrew Barnes, the organization’s founder, has been advocating for a four-day workweek since 2017. In his own organization’s trial, he found that when working four days instead of the traditional five-day model, his employees demonstrated a productivity rate 25% higher than before.

During the initial stages, many companies struggled to set themselves up for the experiment. Samantha Losey, managing director at Unity public relations firm, called the first week “chaotic.” However, she explained, she and her team quickly instituted some systems that enabled continued productivity throughout the four-day workweek. All internal meetings are limited to 5 minutes, while client meetings end after 30 minutes. A “traffic light” system ensures workers are not interrupted unnecessarily – if a colleague’s desk light is set to green, they’re available for a chat; if the light is orange, they’re busy but available if needed; and if the light is red, they cannot be disturbed.

In addition to positive reports from employers, participating employees have given very favorable feedback. Many are appreciative of the extra time they can devote to other important things in their lives besides for work, such as family, mental health, exercise, and extracurricular activities.

It will be interesting to see continued outcomes from the big four-day workweek trial as time goes on. The results may have life-changing outcomes on work-life balance, company culture, employers, and employees.

Is Remote Working Here to Stay?

Much has been written about the shift to remote work since coronavirus emerged.  A year into the Covid-19 era little progress has been made on creating the conditions to emerge from pandemic mode: Vaccination programs have gone slow in many Western countries, and new variants of the virus have emerged in the United Kingdom, South African and Brazil, calling into question the efficacy of the vaccines that are currently on the market.

Traditional wisdom would posit that those factors will have an outsized impact on bringing workers back to the office. But while Covid-19 may have sparked the shift to remote work, there is no indication the trend will reverse itself on the day after the pandemic.

Not many people would choose this…
over this

According to Forbes, the number of workers permanently working from home is expected to double in 2021, with up to 70 percent of the workforce predicted to maintain arrangements to work from home at least five days a month – regardless of developments surrounding Covid-19.

“The rise of remote will lead to people re-prioritizing what is important to them,” said Chris Herd, founder and CEO of Firstbase, a tool to help companies transition to remote working.

Herd told Inc.,  “Organizing your work around your life will be the first noticeable switch. People realizing they are more than their job will lead to deeper purpose in other areas.”

Herd says remote work is beneficial for both employers, who can focus on outcomes and eliminating “senseless tasks,” and for employees, who have the ability to work when they want, spend time with their families and concentrate on their health and exercise.

Early signs appear to validate Herd’s analysis. Commercial real estate values have plummeted in urban centers around the world, with rental prices down 30 percent in New York, large swaths of empty office space in downtown  Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, and London-based HSBC announcing it would slash office space around the world up to 40 percent.