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Five steps HR must take before jumping into a four-day workweek

CHIEF OF STAFF FIVE: With many employers seeing the benefits of a four-day workweek on business efficiency and employee productivity, it would not be surprising if companies will start implementing it. But, like any other major business decision, this needs a lot of preparation.

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Here are five steps HR must take before implementing a four-day workweek.

1. Determine if the new policy will work

First, it is crucial to assess the feasibility of a four-day workweek for the organisation. There are several factors that must be taken into account such as the nature of the business and its operations, organisational structure, manpower and resources, employee workload, technological capacity, and stakeholder or client expectations, among others.

One approach could be to begin with a trial program to evaluate the effects of the proposed policy on the business, as well as employee and customer reception.

2. Engage employees in the decision-making process

Any big shift in company policy will certainly have a significant impact on employees’ professional and personal lives. That is why it is also important to Involve them in the decision-making process and ask their opinion on how a four-day workweek would affect them.

By doing so, HR can help increase employee buy-in and reduce their resistance to the change. Engaging employees will also help HR gain fresh insights on how to execute new policies properly.

3. Develop a clear communication strategy

Effective communication is crucial when implementing any massive changes. To help employees, as well as stakeholders, understand the decision to shift to a four-day workweek, business, and HR leaders must create a comprehensive communication plan that highlights the rationale for the transition, the timeline, and the impact the change will have on everyone.

The communication plan must be continuous and should not stop at the announcement of the new policy. It is also important to update employees and stakeholders on the challenges, observations, and results of the organisational change throughout the transition period.

4. Be open to adjustments and quick to address gaps

Company leaders must carefully consider how the shortened workweek will affect the current workflow, which may be perfectly working in maximising productivity and is certain to deliver desired results. 

The shift towards a four-day workweek requires significant operational adjustments such as restructuring team compositions, redistributing workloads, revising deliverables and timelines, and possibly hiring additional staff to address identified gaps.

5. Evaluate technological readiness

This should also include the evaluation of the organisation’s technological capabilities to implement and sustain changes, such as employing software and applications to automate specific tasks and simplify procedures, especially when hiring new employees is off the table.

With the right tools and systems, employees can accomplish more in less time. This can help offset the loss of a day of work and ensure that productivity remains high.

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WELCOME TO
Chief of Staff Asia