Take a minute to think about how nice it would be to have a long weekend—every weekend, with a four day work week. Would one extra day off per week do you and your team some good?
The corporate world has been experimenting with this idea recently, and the results are generally positive, with employees reporting a better work-life balance and increased engagement on the days they are at work.
According to Business Insider, some big names in the corporate world have already tried this out, including Microsoft and Shake Shack.
At a recent ASCII Group summit in Boston, I spoke to a few managed service providers who said their workload and responsibility to maintain the security of dozens of organizations is causing undue stress on them and their employees.
Can your IT firm or department benefit from a lighter workload? Will you have enough time to accomplish everything in just four days?
Employee burnout is on the rise
In May, the World Health Organization included burnout in its 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases, calling it an “occupational phenomenon.”
The syndrome is caused by chronic workplace stress and is characterized by exhaustion, increased mental distance from your job and reduced professional efficacy.
According to a 2015 study in the Journal of Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences, stress is very high in the IT field. A study of about 1,000 IT and BPO employees found:
- Around 56% had musculoskeletal symptoms
- 22% had newly diagnosed hypertension
- 10% had diabetes
- 36% had dyslipidemia
- 54% had depression, anxiety and insomnia
- 40% had obesity
Clearly, the IT industry could use some stress relief. Does a four day work week make sense for this field?
Can lower levels of stress help solve the workforce gap?
The IT industry—specifically cybersecurity firms—is struggling to recruit young talent, especially in the U.S.
According to the Center for Strategic & International Studies of IT decision makers across eight countries, 82% of employers report a shortage of cybersecurity skills. The U.S. faced a shortfall of nearly 314,000 cybersecurity workers as of last January.
According to CSIS, this is largely due to a lack of qualified IT professionals entering the workforce with a cybersecurity degree combined with soft skills like teamwork, leadership and communication.
Could switching to a four day work week help motivate new workers to improve those soft skills?
Younger generations value flexibility and a work-life balance
There’s an abundance of research that says Millennials—the largest demographic in the U.S. workforce today—want to be able to work from home or work remotely.
This can be accomplished with new technologies and software like Microsoft Teams or Slack. Can your IT firm function with employees working from home or remotely?
You should recognize what this current crop of IT workers look for in a potential employer and adapt to meet their needs. Maybe you can’t afford to let employees have an extra day off, but it should be incumbent upon every MSP to find ways to adapt to changing workforce trends if they want to be a landing spot for young talent.