Campfires 85 & 86: What The 4-Day Workweek Means For Experience Design

General 2 replies 281 views Tags:  Experience DesignAlex Soojungkim-PangTime DesignShorter4-Day WorkweekEmployee Experience

Palo Alto-based futurist and author Alex Soojungkim-Pang is one of the leading champions of the 4-day workweek movement.

His most recent book, Shorter: How Working Less Will Revolutionise The Way Your Company Gets Things Done, takes global research into companies already trialling the 4-day workweek without reducing salaries or expectations, and outlines the learnings and strategies we might apply in our own professional and personal lives.

We also think there’s a lot that experience designers can take from his work and apply to their own experiences. How do we play with people’s perception of time? Are boundaries a necessity or an evil? And how can we help people to feel more productive and fulfilled with the same amount of hours?

The full write-up will be coming soon – but for now, here are a few top takeaways, links and questions that emerged. Add your comments below!

  • The 4-day workweek is less esoteric than you might think. It's already being adopted in countries including Korea and Japan, and in a cross-variety of industries such as manufacturing, marketing and even brewing.

  • The pandemic and WFH have accelerated the move towards more hybrid work and different working patterns.
  • The 4-day workweek is largely already here – it's just buried underneath bad management, distractions and far too many meetings.
  • By redesigning the working day to eradicate pointless meetings, make space for deep work, using tools thoughtfully and creating guidelines for engagement, we can free up time to use elsewhere.
  • Employees in the companies surveyed report better productivity, better work-life balance, and an increased ability to manage their workload.
  • This proves that our perception of time is flexible – and therefore experience designers should play with our perception of it. Think of flow experiences, and the way that time ceases to have meaning when they occur.
  • There's a need to balance customisation with community, so we don't lose the joy of shared time in our quest for a more personalised work schedule.
  • Boundaries are a good thing, but it's up to us how and where we set them.

Some follow-up questions to ask yourself:

  1. As more people swap the 5/2 for the 4/3 week, what might this mean for the experiences you design?

  2. How might you redesign your experience in order to help people be more creative and productive?
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