Japan, Spain, Ireland, the list goes on as more countries embrace a four-day workweek. But is it sustainable? What are some of the challenges? Join us as we break down whether a four-day workweek is possible here or merely a dream for the property management industry.
A four-day workweek has a nice ring to it. Especially as the call for people to return to the office continues to get louder, let’s face it, Covid was and still is an incredibly disruptive force in the workplace. It showed us that there is more than one way to get our jobs done, creating the controversy that is fueling the Great Resignation. Companies may want to return to business as usual, but many are looking for something different. In this article, we join the debate and share our perspectives on what this could mean for the property management industry.
Key Questions/Topics Covered
A four-day workweek – Mark’s Perspective
Four-day workweeks may work well in other countries but are they sustainable here in the U.S.? We are a pressure-driven society that seems to be eternally focused on doing more, not less. Being a customer service-based industry, how would something like a four-day workweek be accomplished? Somebody has to be in the office.
Yes, we have new and emerging technologies like AI and virtual assistants, but at what point do we say enough is enough? Are we risking pushing ourselves out of a job? Can technology ever truly replace the human element of customer service?
It has been my experience as well that the people demanding a different workflow, be it work-from-home or a four-day workweek, are the ones who are already not giving their jobs 100%. I think it’s fair to say that if you want this level of flexibility, you should bring nothing less than your A-game on the days you are working.
All of that aside, there is something to be said for the fact that many felt they were actually more productive working outside of the office. This is presenting quite the challenge for companies. They either need to find a way to create an environment that will make employees happy to return or embrace the fact that Covid has changed the way business is done.
Herein lies one of the aspects that have led to the Great Resignation. We have people leaving to find jobs that support the lifestyle they have become accustomed to, along with a younger generation that is also looking for flexibility. In my opinion, the best way to manage these expectations is a reward-type system. It’s simple if you hit all your goals for a specific period of time, then you have earned that four-day workweek or the ability to work from home.
There is a need to mitigate these demands and focus on accountability. Companies, of course, want to attract the best and the brightest, but they can’t give in to every single request. By creating a reward system, you are clearly setting goals and expectations that benefit all involved.
A four-day workweek – Jonathan’s perspective
I personally feel there are more significant hurdles to overcome before we can even begin to discuss the possibility of a four-day workweek. The poll I recently ran on LinkedIn highlights one of the major ones. The question was simple: How many hours do you spend working in the evening? Over 50% stated that they spend 1-2 hours on average. So how can we talk about a four-day workweek when the majority of us are currently working five days a week plus?
This leads me to ask an even heavier question. Why are we doing this to ourselves? We need to focus on better organization for higher productivity within a standard scheduled work environment. Basically, we need to stop working overtime before we can talk about working within a reduced-hour setting.
I also think that there would need to be a cultural shift before a four-day workweek could ever happen. As Mark said, the U.S. is a very pressure-driven society. The overwhelming attitude is to work harder, so you can do more or accumulate more belongings. As long as we reinforce this type of culture, be it personally or on a corporate level, we will continue to be working late into the evenings on top of our typical nine-to-five.
I think that the next practical step for the property management industry is to catch up. We are severely behind when it comes to finding and retaining talent. Part of that will be finding a way to offer flexible work schedules. I would even dare suggest shift work to attain this. Many other industries utilize shift work to offer more flexible scheduling to their employees. Why can’t we? And to that point, using AI and virtual agents in the correct and balanced way to aid in the workflow. These are just a few of the stepping stones I feel need to be put in place if we are going to navigate towards a four-day workweek.
Final takeaway for a four-day workweek
If this is the wave of the future, we have to find a way to make these changes exciting and sustainable. We need to overcome the existing workflow hurdles to become more organized and productive in less time. If we are going to keep up as an industry, changes are inevitable, and it’s time to embrace things like shift work and reward systems to incentivize and retain our talent.
This has been probably one of our most opinionated podcasts to date. But the conversation needs to happen, and we would love to hear your thoughts. So let us know, do you think a four-day workweek is possible?
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