Forward-thinking South African companies are signing up for the first-ever four-day work week experiment in the country.
The pioneering trial, which starts in February of 2023, will be conducted by the non-profit organisation 4 Day Week SA, which advocates for this type of work structure.
The testing of this futuristic work structure will last for six months and will include academic research by Boston College and Stellenbosch Business School.
According to Karen Lowe, the director of 4 Day Week SA, the organisation's goal is to change the conversation about work because the country has been focusing on time-based output rather than productivity-based output.
“The prescribed five-day week is not necessarily the best way to deliver the best level of productivity. We have seen this time and time again in organisations across the private sector and the government who are really struggling in SA post-Covid-19 to get the workforce back into offices,” says Lowe.
Smaller businesses and those in the professional services sector, she says, are generally the early adopters of a four-day week because it is easier for them to make big changes.
The first to announce that they had jumped on-board was IQbusiness, SA’s largest management and technology consulting firm. Chief executive Adam Craker says in a statement that every leader needs to consider this work mode in their business.
“Trialling the four-day week and the data behind it is something every leader needs to seriously consider in their business. A reduction in working hours has been proven to increase business productivity, improve employee health outcomes while working towards building a more sustainable working environment. This offers people the time and solitude to simultaneously build stronger families and communities while remaining fulfilled and successful at work.”
The director of Nkwali Compliance Consultants, Amandla Mkhwanazi, says that the organisation is moving towards a more productivity-focused strategy with a greater focus on the output of the employees. “We believe that the future of the workforce rests in employee wellbeing. This is what has prompted us, as a company, to take part in this trial. We believe it will have a meaningful and positive impact not only for the company but for its employees.”
Willie van Dyk, the chief executive of Valuesmart Business Solutions, echoed this and said the company joined the four-day week test in the hope that they can improve the overall wellness of their staff.
Here are more companies that have signed up for the four-day work week trial:
Big Beard Web Solutions
Social Impact Insights
Intigrate Business Solutions
The deadline to sign up for the pioneer pilot has been extended to 15 January 2023. Lowe says there will be a two-week intensive on-boarding to get participants ready for the trial.