In August 2008, the state of Utah implemented a trial four-day work week for 17,000 of its employees. A four-day work week involves working four 10-hour days rather than five 8-hour days.
The Working 4 Utah program has been a success with survey results showing 82 percent of program participants wanting to stay on the four-day work week schedule.
A Scientific American article discusses the four-day work week employee survey results:
- There was a decrease in health complaints and sick days.
- Employees reported decreased stress levels.
- 30 percent of participants exercised more.
Not only has the program been a success for program participants, it is saving the government money and has a positive environmental impact as well. According to Scientific American, the total reduction in greenhouse gases from closing offices on Fridays and eliminating a Friday commute is projected at 12,000 metric tons of CO2 annually.
Other states and companies are planning on running similar trials of the four-day work week. Should entrepreneurs hop on board?
If the findings of the Work 4 Utah program such as better health, decreased stress levels, and more time for exercise are potential results of entrepreneurs working less, it could have a positive, long term impact on entrepreneurs’ businesses. An Entrepreneur article suggests that healthy choices can boost your company’s bottom line.
A shorter work week for women entrepreneurs could mean more personal time and less stress. A recent ForbesWoman article, Overworked, Overextended And Overstressed, states that 85 percent of women take on the responsibility of household cleaning, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and laundry. “The double burden of job and home demands leaves them stressed and pressed for time, with 45% responding they don’t have enough time for themselves,” says Jenna Goudreau.
There are three keys to cutting down the entrepreneur’s work week:
- Commit to a schedule that maximizes personal productivity. This is different for each person. The important thing is finding a schedule that works best for you.
- Delegate tasks and outsource work that someone else can do for you. Delegating and outsourcing is how Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, runs a thriving business that requires just 4 hours of his time every week. Hiring a virtual assistant or freelancer will free up more personal time and allow the focus to be on guiding the business rather than occupying time with the completion of mundane tasks that are best left for someone else to do.
- Practice kaizen. Kaizen is the Japanese practice of continually improving and eliminating waste. Make every work hour count. Avoid distractions and any unnecessary task that is not pushing your business forward. Do not feel compelled to respond to every tweet, every email, and every message.
While not all entrepreneurs can achieve a four-day work week and very few will achieve a four-hour work week, we can strive to free up more time for doing things that we enjoy and making time for the people we love. After all, entrepreneurship is not just about the creation of wealth but also the creation of time to spend how we choose.
What are your thoughts on the four-day work week? Could you do it? Or do you think a four-day work week is impractical for entrepreneurs?