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100% of the output for 80% of the time

In this episode of That Wellbeing @ Work Show, I take a closer look at an innovative employment model that’s growing in popularity around the world. The 4 Day Week is a reduced-hour working model, which seeks to prioritise working smarter to produce better business productivity and positive employee outcomes such as employee retention, engagement and reduced absence levels – wellbeing in a nutshell!

Joining me to discuss this growing work-trend is Charlotte Lockhart, co-founder of 4 Day Week Global a not-for-profit community for those individuals and organisations keen to explore new ways of working.

Charlotte herself is a business advocate, investor and philanthropist. She’s on the board of the Wellbeing Research Centre at Oxford University and the advisory boards of the US and Irish campaigns for the 4 Day Week.

How does the 4 Day Week Work? [01:15] Charlotte explains the principle behind the 4 Day Week. Workers are paid 100% of their wages for only working 80% of the time whilst providing 100% productivity. The idea is to reduce the amount of work time by focusing on productivity. After all if productivity is maintained why should pay be reduced?

How do businesses boost productivity? [02:11] Boosting productivity is notoriously difficult. Charlotte explains that within a business environment, the answers are found in the micro-environment; for example how many widgets are produced, how many meetings are called but most importantly work with your employees as they will help you identify time-saving efficiencies.

Are some employees resistant to change? [07:11] Charlotte explains that there are always employees who confuse productivity with being ‘busy’ but as she says “busy is not productive” and working 80 hours a week is not a badge of honour. She goes on to explain that millennials and the generations that follow view work in a different way and don’t want to work the hours their parents did.

Can the 4 Day Week work across all sectors? [20:00] Yes is the simple answer. Charlotte gives an example of a bus company in New Zealand where one of the routes operated attracts very few passengers but is convenient for the company to use. Her argument is that if you talk to your workers and your customers efficiencies can be found that won’t affect the level of service. At [23:01], Charlotte further explains that it’s dangerous to assume that no sector couldn’t benefit from reviewing the way work is structured or organised.

Meetings are the enemy of productivity [24:21] ‘No Agenda No Attender’ is the mantra Charlotte quotes when it comes to meetings. She explains the changes she made at her own firm to reduce time spent on these fruitless interactions. She further illustrates how people eating lunch at their desk and the use of open plan offices has a detrimental effect on individual productivity.


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