BusinessDay

Post COVID-19 era: Why Nigeria should adopt 4-day work model

The global economy witnessed a shock during the COVID-19 pandemic that has revolutionalised certain structures and patterns in nearly all facets of life.

The Great Resignation (Big quit) in America, where over 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs voluntarily in September 2021, is raising concern for organisations, companies and the government to remodel or institutionalise a new working model.

A four-day week has been tested and strongly produced unbelievable results without compromising productivity and output. Although the Great Resignation example may not apply to Nigeria due to Nigeria’s high unemployment rate, this new working model presents a wave of benefits if Nigeria could adopt the four-day week as a new working model for employees in the public and private sectors without a reduction in employees remuneration.

A report published in May 2021 by the Four-Day week Campaign in collaboration with the environmental and social justice collective Platform in London discovered that adopting a four-day week by 2025 will slash the UK’s annual carbon footprint by 127 million metric tons.

Nigeria can equally benefit from the carbon emission it releases into the environment with a very harmful effect on humans, agriculture, animals, aquatic life and the natural environment. This new working model can help Nigeria tackle climate change and carbon pollution challenges and save the ozone layer.

Dean Tempest and other co-founders at London-based board games creator adopted the four-day week model, yet they made a 350 percent sales in 2019, an indicator that it doesn’t affect results and employee output.

Lux, an Edinburgh-based food and drink marketing agency, trialled the four-day week among their employees, ensuring a certain number of their employees worked from Monday to Thursday.

In contrast, others worked from Tuesday to Friday, profit soared by 30 percent, and productivity increased by 24 percent, even though there was an unwritten agreement for employees to work for a 5th day if there were deadlines to meet.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a game-changer for the cooperate world. It challenged and altered the status quo and ensured that organisations adjusted to innovative, inclusive ways to increase productivity while minimising operating costs.

In addition, it allows employees to avoid burnout and mental health issues caused by workloads and stress. Employees in major cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Abuja face long hours in traffic, implying that they will have fewer hours to recuperate for work the next day.

Adopting this model will ensure that employees create a decent work-life balance, me-time and quality time with family and other leisures. The low salary and wage structure is another strong appeal to adopting this model to enable workers to engage in agriculture or economic activity.

Read also: Consistency in the workplace

Kaduna State and Imo state under Governor Rochas Okorocha had resorted to giving government workers an extra day off for various reasons. This adjustment will achieve success in Nigeria for private and public organisations without compromising output while achieving cooperate goals and objectives.

Big organisations like Ford motor company in America, Unilever in New Zealand, and Microsoft in Japan have all trialled the four-day week and achieved tremendous success. Adopting this work model could be a game-changer for organisations in Nigeria in a post-COVID-19 era where less physical contact is greatly encouraged.

Skipping a Friday out of the work calendar won’t be a bad idea, especially for a day widely believed to be the less productive work day and a special day for the Muslim faithful. In the words of Alice Will, it is not about the number of days one is made to work but about focusing on output and productivity.

Alikor Victor is a development economist & policy analyst at the Nextier Group

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