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Four-Day Work Week: Potential and Challenges

Universitas Indonesia > News > Faculty of Administration News > Four-Day Work Week: Potential and Challenges

Issues related to work-life balance are increasingly becoming a concern for the public, especially among young employees. If this is implemented, it is necessary to pay attention to the balance between work life and personal life so employees do not experience fatigue or work stress and reduce productivity. Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) Erick Thohir recently proposed the idea of ​​a four-day working week in state-owned companies to maintain employees’ mental health.

Erick encouraged the implementation of a Compressed Work Schedule system which allows employees who have worked more than 40 hours a week to take time off on Fridays, bringing the total holiday to three days. According to Dr. Eko Sakapurnama, S.Psi, MBA, CHRM, Human Resources management strategy expert and lecturer at the Faculty of Administrative Sciences (FIA) Universitas Indonesia (UI), the Compressed Work Schedule system really allows employees to get the work balance they desire.

“In fact, the 40-hour work system for four days, as seen in the Compressed Work Schedule, has become a discourse after the COVID-19 pandemic. There are two things to consider, namely the issue of Work-Life Balance, and the fact that when employees are asked to work from home (WFH), work productivity is relatively stable and even tends to increase. Implementing the Compressed Work Schedule system brings several benefits, including reducing stress, increasing employee engagement, reducing mental health issues that impact productivity, and increasing job retention and satisfaction,” said Dr. Eco.

Compressed Work Schedule is a system of working hours totaling between 35 and 40 hours a week, which takes place over four working days. There are several compressed work schedule schemes, for example, the “4/10” scheme, which means four working days with 10 working hours per day, or the “9/80” scheme, which means employees are required to work nine days in two weeks to fulfill 80 working hours. The keyword for this system is “flexibility,” so it can be applied to industries or types of work that are flexible in terms of working hours and location, for example, journalists, researchers, lecturers, marketing, hospitality, or administrative work in offices.

Meanwhile, the salary scheme for the compressed work schedule system can be made hourly without reducing the take-home pay (net salary) each month. Dr. Eko assesses that compensation payments calculated per hour will benefit the company because if there are employees whose performance is not good, the company can reduce the number of working hours, which will also affect monthly income. This scheme, also known as “pay for performance, ” emphasizes implementing reward and punishment mechanisms for employees.

Currently, 21 countries are trying to implement a four-day working day system for companies, although it is not applied to all industrial sectors. These countries include the United States, England, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and Japan. Dr. Eko said, “The Japanese government made a policy in the 2021 economic policy yearbook which recommends companies implement a four-day working day system. “As a result, the Japanese economy is quite stable now, with the Nikkei Index indicator strengthening in 2024.”

The main challenge of implementing a compressed work schedule system is ensuring employees can accept work demands to produce the same amount in less time. Moreover, work productivity can decrease if work culture and commitment do not align with the compressed work schedule system.

According to Dr. Eko, the work culture of society in Indonesia is generally different from the compressed work schedule so the scheme cannot be implemented as a total in Indonesia. Furthermore, he believes that this initiative will only be successful if companies carry out substantial work redesign to maintain business results while reducing working hours. Thus, companies must optimize operations, reduce administrative burdens, and prioritize high-impact work.

Therefore, several factors need to be considered before deciding to implement a four-day working day system in a company. “Four criteria must be considered before implementing the four working day system. First, strong work culture and commitment. Second, redesign the work system. Third, measurable performance measurement so the work productivity does not decrease. Lastly, organizational readiness and maturity,” said Dr. Eco.

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