Is 4-Day Workweek feasible in India?

In the midst of the holiday season, we are all trying to find a balance between work and celebration. The 4-day workweek is a concept in Europe, UAE, and Japan— but can it work in an Indian scenario? - The 100-80-100 model: 100% pay for 80% of the time in exchange for a commitment to maintaining 100% productivity. Let’s find out!

In the midst of the holiday season, we are all trying to find a balance between work and celebration. The 4-day workweek is a concept in Europe, UAE, and Japan— but can it work in an Indian scenario? - The 100-80-100 model: 100% pay for 80% of the time in exchange for a commitment to maintaining 100% productivity. Let’s find out!

In Today’s edition, We'll talk about :

  • Where is the idea of 4 day work week coming from?
  • Is a 4-day workweek for everyone?
  • What Indian Employees are saying about it?
  • Success story with Vasu Chaturvedi
  • Springworks experience

Where is the idea of a 4-day work week coming from?

The first time we would have thought of a 5-day workweek from a 6-day, it would have sounded as insane as 4-day sounds today. Change is never easy, and is always uncomfortable.

Four new labour rules were recently announced by the Indian government, one of which instituted a four-day workweek. According to it, employees will furthermore see an increase in work hours, a change in PF payments, and an effect on take-home pay it. Ultimately, the decision to implement a four-day workweek or not will likely be up to individual employers, depending on the challenges and benefits that it poses to their particular workplace. Is a 4-day workweek the future of work?

Is a 4-day workweek for everyone?

The advantages of working in a four-day week as opposed to a five-day week have received a lot of attention. Making 32 hours the standard rather than 40 can boost employee well-being without reducing productivity for firms. Numerous studies have demonstrated that productivity eventually declines as work hours rise.

At offices, there is a lot of leisure time and at home, sometimes we just sit in front of the screen to show we are working while we are busy somewhere else. We are actually doing 4-5 hours of deep work every day. It's possible that forty-hour workweeks exhaust individuals unnecessarily.

It doesn't work for all companies: Some industries demand a presence seven days a week, which might make a short working week not possible. It’s relatively easier for jobs that rely on knowledge workers to move to a compressed schedule compared to jobs that rely on service work. Examples include logistics, public transportation systems, and emergency services.

It doesn’t work for all employees: Some workers appreciate the flexibility of a five-day workweek, while others enjoy working extra. They may enjoy social interactions at work and want to be away from their laptops, out of their houses. Additionally, some employees may discover that a shorter week puts an unsustainable amount of pressure on them to do more work in less time, similar to the pressure that comes before a vacation.

Benefits for Employers - A rise in sales, greater staff retention, less employee stress, and lower office running expenses (unless the company is already all-remote). Additionally, employee-centric policies work as hiring strategies in the long run- the larger application pool for occupations that are available. More and more businesses are realising that quality of life is the new frontier for competitiveness as we get out of the epidemic.

Benefits for Employees - It looks like all pros for employees - Better work-life balance, better productivity, and better mental health. They also get enough time to upskill/reskill themselves.

It's good for the environment - Reduced commute and traffic congestion may result from a shorter workweek for the environment.

4DWW Success Story from India

Every week, we schedule our weekly 1:1 with our readers. Want to be featured in an upcoming edition? Click here to introduce yourself.

This week we’re in conversation with Vasu Chaturvedi who works as a Product Manager - at Pixion Games

Q- How do communication and productivity in a 4-day workweek work for you?

I work for a European company, based out of India, we're a completely remote team. We're spread across 26 countries. So for us, we're very flexible with our timings. We work across many time zones. Most of it is racing, we sometimes just overlap different time zones for the crucial meetings. We work on different sprints, so it's more milestone based. So everything is put into that order to deliver outputs. My colleagues and I like to work remotely, and have quarterly on-site meetups, we prefer it this way.

Q- How do you think Compensation should be affected?

I'm sure a business owner might just completely deviate. But for me, there should be no deviation because, at the end of the day, you're getting the same output.

Q- How does your leave policy work?

We have the standard 18 leaves, there is no change in this regard.

Q- What strategies and cultural tenets help you do it?

  • Constant communication
  • High ownership and agency
  • High trust environment
  • Empathy
  • Teamwork
  • Mentor-mentee relationship with Manager
  • Flexible remote work

Do you work in HR or Want us to cover how something in an organization is working? Email [email protected] or DM @janwhyy on Twitter.

What Indian Employees are saying about it?

Suryansh Tomar from Stoa - “I work on a mental model to get things done, what matters is how to get output. So, sometimes I am working 7 days a week, whereas, at times, I am working only 2 days a week. But having said that, I have seen people work 6 days a week and I appreciate having the flexibility and mental peace of not working on a Saturday, I can choose not to work. The same thought process works around a 4-day work week for me.”

Ayush Patro, Product Manager at Builder.ai says - “As an ex-startup founder, the majority of founders think that we can get ahead in business by working more. The solutions that come forward to increase productivity are not - let's work on increasing this person's productivity. It's the other way around: How can I get them to work five hours more? You're always somewhere seen as a resource. And when you see someone as a resource, you don't worry about productivity. We'll have to build the hours of work that the person puts in, and that's how the company will incur costs.

So if you're able to pick your clientele properly, as a service business, you can still make it work. But as a user focus business, it has to be well managed, and I don't think the number of days makes sense. And if it can be well managed in a rotational manner as per se you know, you get compensatory ops for the days that you've worked.

For tools, if our HR systems are smart enough to track and suggest days off or efforts based on the attendance of people, it can make sense.

Anish Kumar Singh from Orange health said - “It depends on what kind of job role sector it is, for my role as a person in the healthcare sector and, it is not feasible.”

Aanya Wig, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Her Haq says - “4 day work week sounds like a distant dream for Indian workplaces right now. If I look at my productivity on an everyday basis, deep work in the office is really difficult, hence a hybrid setup works for me. The output depends on the deadlines I am supposed to deliver. A 4-day work week will have never-ending pressure on my mind.

Additionally, all I can think of right now is how women are going to manage this. If 4DWW will increase caregiving time for women. For a lot of women getting out of the house and going to the office is an escape. The work-life balance is no longer in place. There will be barely any time left after a 10-hour day to complete household work”

Experience of Springworks implementing it and then rolling it back -

Kartik Mandaville shared that the intention behind the 4-day work week was to have complete freedom of work without any timings, and a sole focus on output: quality vs quantity. We’re working towards getting 100% async, we are just there and as Ramakrishnan Lokanathan, one of my colleagues said, “4 Day work week should be a way to become a 7-day organization, and not look at it as a reduced customer facing opportunity in front of other companies. This would be a huge advantage in today’s world. We need to ace resource and schedule management.”

We started it with a part of the team and then moved ahead implementing it to the whole organization. Leave policy was not decided, teams could decide the days they worked, and it worked on 4 days and 10 hours model. Additionally, 4DWW will not be applicable for the first 90 days for new employees even if their team is on it. The reason being it takes a lot of effort to onboard and get used to the culture - pick up all the background, start contributing, meet people etc. Hence, they require enough time to adjust accordingly.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work for us. There was an increase in follow-ups, meetings and misses of tickets and deployment. We moved back to 5DWW, but are still looking for suggestions. The idea is to find how we can it better

Lessons to learn -

  • Identify the business demands that a four-day workweek will provide.
  • Consult with several departments within your company to determine their needs.
  • Make it clear: what is changing and what isn't.
  • The benefits of the adjustment should be highlighted clearly.
  • Try phased-out implementation
  • Sync schedules and take more ownership of tasks

Happy Holidays from the HR Brain Pickings team!

Next week, we'll be off to spend some time with our families, but we'll be back next year. We wish you and everybody around you a Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy, and curious New Year!