If you had the choice, would you switch over to a four-day work week?

Microsoft recently announced it allowed employees in Japan to work a four-day work week and productivity increased 40%. Could such an approach work here in New Jersey?

“I think it’s all about organizations re-imagining the workplace in a way that aligns the culture and operational needs of that organization with the desires and needs of the workforce,” Michele Siekerka, the president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said.

She stressed this is not a one-size-fits-all kind of situation — but said a company has to ask: "What’s the best way to deliver your products and services, and can you do it in a way that includes workplace flexibility and technology in order to enable that?”

Siekerka stressed “in order to attract the most competitive workforce right now I think we need adaptations. It’s what the next generation is looking for. It’s critical.”

She suggested giving employees more flexibility with additional downtime, while at the same time asking them to increase productivity on the days they are at work.

“I would suggest that it absolutely boosts morale and I think people find a way to be more productive and effective and efficient in the time that they then otherwise have,” Siekerka said.

She said an increasing number of New Jersey companies, the association itself, are looking at this issue and making changes.

“Every other Friday in the summer, we do half days, and I would suggest the folks here at NJBIA are much happier in the summer because we do that," Siekerka said. "And it does not take away from their productivity the rest of the week.”

She said when companies allow for more schedule flexibilit,  it recognizes people as individuals “and that they have a life beyond work, and when you trust people as adults who have responsibilities, that they know how to have the right balance so they can deliver and be productive employees.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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