4-Day Week Global, the non-profit organization supporting this movement since 2018 is still conducting its trial in partnership with Cambridge, Boston College, and Oxford University. The experiment involves some 3300 workers across different companies, has the business community excited at best and holding their breath at worst. What will be its effects, will it reach the African continent, and what should businesses in Africa make of it? Let us guide you through this trend which is getting a lot of press as of late.
It is a new mode of working which values quality over quantity, that is, performance over the time spent at work. Concretely, it is very different from the compressed week, which requires employees to work more hours during on-days to deliver the equivalent of a 5-day week. The 4-day week, instead, takes a full day out of the equation, while employees receive their full salary and benefits. Their salary compensates output, rather than the hours worked.
In contrast, a four-day work week means employees will work one day less in the week but the same number of hours per day as before. They will still receive their full salary and benefits. In essence, they are being paid for outputs and not for hours worked.
Before diving into specifics, it should be noted that 4-Day Week Global’s managing director and founder is of the opinion that so far, the results of the trial merely provide empirical data backing benefits that the organisation had been promoting all along, namely:
In the wake of the pandemic, which left many over-worked and on the brink of burn-out, clearly showing the limitations of work-from-home (WFH), the 4-day work week seemed to reduce stress, while improving sleep quality, increasing family and work-life balance and overall satisfaction.
Although, in essence, the 4-day work week in no way equates to a compressed work week, overall productivity remained unchanged, and, in some cases, even improved.
In an article from BusinessTech.co.za, master reward specialist with the South African Reward Association (SARA), Kirk Kruger posits that, although South Africa may not be ready to adopt this functioning at a large scale, and those choosing to adopt it may be niche organisations, “Research shows a higher level of worker engagement, so there is good reason for employers to consider it as part of their employee value proposition”.
Indeed, as far as South Africa is concerned, the upcoming workforce has shifting needs that demand change and more flexibility, challenging the traditional work model. In another article, the news platform found that the traditional 9 to 5 working hours are no longer palatable to this generation of workers, according to labour experts at South African law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. From WFH incentives that nonetheless make it hard for workers to switch off, to considering the 4-day work week – which is possible, but not practical in all cases – change is afoot, although specifics are still unclear.
Who could have anticipated that WFH would have taken the world by storm? The transition had been slow, until the pandemic imposed it. Progressive businesses embraced it; conservative ones looked forward to being done with it as soon as business activities resumed. But all experts agree that this work mode is here to stay – with or without its flaws – and although it is only applicable to some industries.
Are we saying that another pandemic will impose the 4-day work week? We certainly do not hope so. However, the UK trial will infallibly come up with better insights, whilst identifying potential problems and suggesting ways to solve them. In either case, we believe that preparation and agility is key to navigating the ever-changing labour landscape. Single-handedly dismissing any new work mode is not necessarily wise, and neither is diving into it headfirst.
Moreover, if this trend does enter mainstream culture, it will do so backed by appropriate legislation. And it does come with a few advantages for employers:
Businesses will gain a competitive edge over competitors that do not offer such options, as work culture, which is a key pillar of employee experience, sets a business apart.
With new work modes, come new laws, and they require compliance. Whether from a Human Resource perspective through our Employer of Record solution for keeping up with labour laws, or from a Payroll perspective for keeping up with tax-law changes, our legal expertise in 46 African countries has you covered.
First, by delegating us the payroll function, you free up your team and all the resources they need to focus on your core business. Secondly, by using our payroll data you can generate insightful reports that will help you understand internal trends and make better and informed decisions.
By choosing a unified service provider across Africa you benefit from economies of scale to access efficient digital payroll tools, competitive benefit packages from insurance to pension, and, most of all, the talented team that will make the best use of these tools to save you precious time.
Kevina Takoordyal has a BA Hons Business Management from the University of Glamorgan, UK, with MBA in leadership and Innovation, MBA General, PMP Certified, and Agile Scrum Master. She currently works as the Head of Operations at Africa HR Solutions Ltd with more than 20 years of proven leadership capabilities in Operations, Business Development, People Management, Process Optimization, and Project Management in the Financial Services, BPO, Banking Industry, and Heath Care Industry. In Senior leadership roles with an international footprint across Europe working and extensive Pan- African experience from a compliance, finance, and operations angle, Kevina comes across with a panoply of cross-functional skills. Kevina also serves on a few Boards, Non-Independent Executive at MioD and for NGOs on a voluntary basis, a coach and mentor to aspiring female leaders across Africa and Mauritius.
Kevina is a firm believer in Servant Leadership with a strong focus and commitment to uplifting others, with the ability to deliver through a highly engaged – diverse team, and works towards consistently synergistic value creation. While being a focused and adaptive thinker and Kevina is actively participating in panel discussions on Innovation, CX, Digital transformation.
Kevina serves as Project Assessor for the National Youth upskilling program. She has been recognized as Global Talent in a few companies, Ceridian, and International SOS Ltd whereby she has been awarded a few scholarships and had the opportunity to be mentored by Senior Vice President in the US. Award Winner in various fields and at a national level and recognized including Super Achiever Leader Award in Africa in 2016, Awarded Africa Women Leader 2018.
A qualified lawyer who joined Africa HR Solutions in July 2020, Mark Du Preez has experience working in private practice for a reputable law firm in South Africa. He also played commercially focused roles at a leading private bank, wealth management company, and outsourcing firm in South Africa and Mauritius.
Mark has played a pivotal role in Africa HR Solution’s risk mitigation strategy, which positively impacted P&L performance over the years.
He currently leads the Partnerships function of the company including relationships and oversight with in-country partners (ICPs) across Africa.
Alex has more than 15 years of experience in the global, strategic development of both enterprise and consumer brands in categories including technology, transport, enterprise software, entertainment, and travel.
With experience in roles on both agency and corporate side, he has worked across international brands and has led the development and execution of multi-discipline campaigns across EMEA, NORAM and Asia Pacific.
His focus is on driving meaningful business impact through brand differentiation and building high-functioning, digitally oriented, and analytically driven capabilities. He is motivated by working with, and developing dynamic people, teams, and organizations.
He leads, manages, develops and mentors the Key Account Management department, including line management responsibility for the team of Key Account Managers and Key Account Administrator who represent the Company as the primary communication link between all relevant stakeholders, including clients, third party in-country partners and internal functions.
Originally from Mauritius, he holds bachelor’s degrees in International Business, Finance and Management from the University of Nevada, Reno.