Can working one day less really unlock the job market and lend a hand to people who are increasingly attentive to balancing professional life - private life and their own well-being? The answer would seem yes, but with a series of reservations that companies and candidates cannot overlook.
The 4 Day Week can certainly bring benefits to companies and workers, but there are some aspects that we must take into consideration because, if poorly managed, even this new way of working, which certainly has a series of advantages, can turn into a boomerang, above all for the people. The last three years, we know, have completely changed our approach to work and even the short week represents a further change, especially at an organizational and cultural level, because it is not enough to close the offices on Fridays, it is necessary to completely redesign the organizational models, reflect on the division of workloads and, above all, make a series of salary assessments.
So, 4 day work week? Maybe yes, but let's think about it. From a survey conducted among more than 300 people in Italy - of all ages and professions - a very clear picture emerges: 73% would accept to work one less day a week. 52%, however, would not accept salary cuts and would do so only after a careful review of company processes because the fear is that, if the approach were not changed, there would be the risk of having excessive workloads in the four days in the office (or remotely), therefore without a real advantage. In fact, very few (23%) would be willing to work an extra hour a day to have a totally free one.
If we analyze the choices of young and less young candidates, we perceive a clear difference: workers with fewer years of experience, probably more accustomed to hybrid working models, which guarantee greater flexibility, are absolutely in favor of the short week and are more willing to give up a small part of their salary in favor of their well-being (42% vs 24%). However, there is not such a marked distinction between men and women of the same age, probably a sign that something is changing and that almost no one, regardless of gender, is more willing to negotiate on the work-life balance.
Well-being and productivity: two aspects that are not in conflict with each other. We have seen how much attention is paid to all those elements which, for various reasons, can help simplify the life of those who work and help preserve well-being. The discussions on the validity or otherwise of the 4-day working week are inserted - together with many other elements that we have come to know in recent times, such as full remote, smart working or hybrid work - in a market of work that makes flexibility, combined with the need not to compromise in terms of productivity, the key element.
Companies will have to start implementing changes that can really make a difference in people's lives and this new model (which in fact is still in a totally experimental phase) goes in this direction. The last few years have shown us that it is increasingly difficult to completely separate work and private life, especially when working from home and, in fact, potentially always connected. Doing exactly this thought means having more efficient and productive companies, but also more serene and satisfied workers.