The four-day workweek as HRM tool – Could it work?

In 1930, during the Great Depression, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that we would all have a 15-hour work week “within a hundred years.”

The four-day work week has become a hot topic, as technology has introduced new methods to increase productivity. Certain industries don’t require as many working hours anymore, and the global trend—especially in Europe—is leading to a four-day work week.  Does it work? Could it work for the PTC industry?

In February 2017 the 90-year-old Dutch family-owned laundry company Lavans was in the news on Dutch television, because of their unorthodox vision on Human Resources Management and how they changed their working processes. Owing to continuing automation, jobs, tasks and processes change or disappear. At Lavans they claimed to anticipate on these developments instead of defying them.  Piet Heerkens –co-owner – stated that according to Lavans the solution to new working strategies can be found in ‘a life-long learning policy’. Not as a sole responsibility of employees, but also as an employers’goal. Heerkens: “In order to keep our workforce, we have determined new requirements as to jobs, tasks, ambitions and roles. We offer education when needed and thus we have a perfect match between personal talents and tasks required”.

Apparently, actively working on work-life balance combined with the power of automation led to enthusiasm and motivation in this company with apparent positive influence on business. Wouldn’t that work for every laundry?