Twenty-nine businesses in South Africa have signed up to become participants in the Four-Day Week SA Pioneer Pilot, scheduled to kick off next month.
Among them are ICT firms who agreed to test the campaign’s 100-80-100 model (100% of the pay, 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment from workers to deliver 100% output) and allow employees to feel unburdened from their jobs.
The initiative is spearheaded by the global non-profit Four-Day Week Global. It is described as an “evolution of remote working” that could improve company productivity, efficiency, and performance while maintaining greater employee well-being, engagement, and work-life balance.
The trial will run for six months and will be underpinned by research before, mid-way, and at the endpoint of the test.
Four-Day Week SA Director Karen Lowe called this movement a “testament to the forward-thinking” of businesses in the country.
“Reduced work hours are a central tenet to the future of work, and they are willing to give it a try. There is potentially so much to be gained and nothing to lose from the experiment,” she added.
Although the campaign sounds hopeful, some experts are skeptical about the feasibility of the new workweek model. Other companies, meanwhile, are worried that they might not sustain their productivity.
Still, the 4-day workweek is not the first innovation to come to the workplace. And it would certainly not be the last.
From remote work, hybrid work, digital nomads, and full-on AI agents, the future of work is no doubt evolving from the traditional ways.
And with workers looking for a more balanced work life, the 4-day workweek movement should be something that companies should be open to trying on.
After all as the old saying goes, we won’t know what would happen unless we try.