While the 32-hour week – reducing the full time work week to 32 rather than 40 hours – is not a common offering, 2022 may see the convergence of two trends that argue for its broader use. This option is distinct from the compressed schedule which maintains the 40-hour week, but reduces workdays from 5 to 4 or a variation as described under “compressed weeks.” While we have not specialized in this option, there have been some promising and high profile cases of its use globally and the incidence of adoption is likely to increase.Again, research on the employee experience of remote work showed a fairly consistent finding that many employees felt that the greater efficiency of this way of working made them conclude that they could get their same level of output and productivity on a shorter schedule. The 4-day week has the potential to greatly increase employee engagement and offer the advantages of a compressed schedule without the administrative complexity and undermining assumptions.
The appeal of the industrial model and the deeply habituated commitment of many leaders to the traditional 40-hour week make this approach challenging. Piloting offers a way to test this choice and build support for a dramatic change.