Another U.S. company has made the leap to a four-day workweek and isn’t looking back. Idaho-based Healthwise, a non-profit that provides patient-facing medical literature through hospitals and doctors’ offices, began a four-day workweek trial after employee turnover reached an all-time high. After seven months, the trial was so successful they decided to make it permanent.
After noticing an increased number of employees leaving Healthwise during the pandemic, company leadership decided to take a novel approach to boost employee morale and increase retention. “We decided it was a good time to try the four-day week,” Healthwise CEO Adam Husney, M.D. told The Idaho Statesman. “We’ve seen very little attrition since that time. Healthwise has always been a place that has cared a lot about its workers, and we’re proud of that.”“The feedback we’ve gotten is very positive,” Hunsey explained. “Ninety-five percent of our employees felt that the four-day workweek positively impacted their work-life balance. Eighty percent said that the four-day workweek made them more likely to recommend Healthwise as an employer to their family and friends.”Healthwise isn’t the first U.S. company to deal with massive turnover since the pandemic began. The Washington Post reports that nearly 4.4 million workers left their jobs in February alone, strengthening the idea that a “Great Resignation” is underway across the country. As pandemic burnout flares, record numbers of workers are quitting their jobs, citing low pay, few opportunities for advancement, feeling disrespected at work, and inability to find adequate or affordable childcare during work hours, according to Pew Research.To cope with turnover and employee dissatisfaction, many companies in the U.S. and abroad are experimenting with shortened workweeks and finding unprecedented success. Globally, four-day workweek trials are ongoing in Ireland, the U.K., New Zealand, Belgium, and Spain after Iceland reaped the benefits of a successful trial. Similarly, State Representatives in California recently introduced a bill that would require all companies with over 500 employees to switch to the truncated workweek. If passed, the bill would make it the first state in the country to embrace a shortened workweek at the state level.Though it may seem counterintuitive, research has shown that a four-day workweek actually increases worker productivity alongside job satisfaction, workplace morale, and feelings of work-life balance, the importance of which, in these days of unparalleled stress, inequity, anxiety, and depression, cannot be overstated. “There’s a lot of talk these days about the future of work and the opportunities that it offers, but there’s more at stake here than opportunity,” Juliet Schor, the economist who consulted with Healthwise on its workweek transition, said during a recent TED Talk. “We have an imperative to face the challenges of our current moment, the pandemic burnout and depression, inequalities of race and income.”