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Could remote
collaboration tools
power a four-day
workweek?

Author: Satta Sarmah Hightower

In January 2022, the 4 Day Week Global Foundation launched an international trial to promote the idea of the four-day workweek as part of its vision for the future of work. The trial involves the so-called 100-80-100 model where employees receive 100% of their salary for working 80% of their previous hours while maintaining 100% productivity.

The recent massive move from in-office to hybrid work environments suggests working practices once considered stable can be upended almost overnight. Remote collaboration tools are among the reasons 90% of remote workers feel it's either easier to get things done at home compared to the office (44%) or about the same (46%). In 2019, fewer than 6% of Americans worked primarily from home; by May 2020, the number was 35%.

Per the foundation, 63% of businesses found it easier to attract and retain talent with a four-day workweek and 78% of employees are happier and less stressed. Unified communications erase the distance between your employees, partners and customers.

So what is the current state of the movement for a four-day workweek? What role could remote collaboration tools play in helping to realize this new vision for the future of work? Could these changes maintain or increase productivity and reduce costs, without impacting efficiency or hurting business results?

The four-day workweek as the future of work

The four-day workweek isn't a post-pandemic phenomenon—for example, Utah's state government offered a 4/10 (four 10-hour days per week) work schedule between 2008 and 2011. Yet, as the 4 Day Week Global Foundation trial shows, the movement is "gaining big momentum." Other recent developments include:

Some companies have found introducing a four-day workweek benefitted their retention and job application rates, something particularly important in a time of labor shortages. One company reported a 98% retention rate and an 800% rise in applications from last year, and revenue increased 61% year over year. Microsoft Japan reported 40% productivity gains and other increased efficiencies, such as 23% electricity savings.

Challenges around the future of work

Kickstarter's CEO identified a number of challenges the company would need to resolve during its trial:

  • Efficiently running meetings with fewer days in the workweek
  • Achieving team goals if individual members were working at different times
  • Recognizing employees and individual teams can have different requirements

Astute observers might note that these challenges around coordination and communication are similar to those that companies with a hybrid workforce face. So what lessons around tools could a company interested in a four-day workweek take from remote collaboration?

Lessons from remote collaboration for four-day workweeks

Remote collaboration tools encompass a range of technologies, from messaging and team communication apps to digital workspace platforms and unified communications solutions.

Coordination

Project management and other collaboration platforms can help reduce time spent in meetings by allowing teams to work on the same projects, to see work that teammates accomplished and to offer feedback. These solutions also help employees and their managers better plan and track tasks and deadlines.

Co-workers can use presence information to easily determine if someone they need to reach is available for a chat or call. Employee productivity can be further boosted by integrating remote collaboration tools with popular business applications, such as productivity suites and customer relationship management software.

Communication

Unified communications solutions also offer a lot of value for remote collaboration, depending on an organization's needs. These cloud-based solutions include voice and video calling, instant or text (SMS) messaging, speech recognition, and audio, web and videoconferencing.

Highly rated video platforms like BlueJeans by Verizon have a range of features that could benefit an organization considering moving to a four-day workweek. These include:

  • Smart meeting highlights and transcriptions that track important agenda items, choose topics to be followed up on and provide pertinent information for employees who couldn't attend the meeting.
  • Annotations and digital whiteboards that can provide space for ideation and problem-solving for employees and teams who don't follow the same work schedule.

The value of unified platforms

A key lesson from remote collaboration is the value of unified communication and collaboration systems. For employees, they offer a gentler learning curve and easy day-to-day operation as users only need to learn one interface, not several. Employers can reduce the cost and time spent on managing different systems.

Many companies are still deciding whether a four-day workweek, like hybrid work, is part of their vision for the future of work. What's clear is that remote collaboration tools will likely play a key role regardless of what that future looks like.

Learn more about remote collaboration tools that could improve productivity in your organization.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.