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5 Ways To Better Reach Your Audience

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Brad Anderson


Attempting to reach your audience is difficult, as the internet is full of information, and consumers are flooded with the constant noise of advertising, social media, and email. It can be intimidating for a company to get its message heard over the noise. However, with a bit of care and planning, you can successfully reach your target demographic and interest them in your product.

Maybe you’re a new business with a great product and want to know how to drive traffic to your site. Or perhaps you’re established but have something fresh and exciting to offer, and you need to know how to spotlight it. Maybe you’re interested in learning how to reach a whole new demographic and are unsure how to do that.

To reach out to a new audience online, keep your existing customers interested, or drive conversions, you need to plan your content strategy and SEO carefully. It’s not enough just to launch a product website, announce it on social media, and wait to see what happens. Instead, you’ve got to find a way to amplify your voice.

Initiating a Strategy

Content encompasses everything you use to communicate information to the world: social media, graphics, written communication, and your website itself are included in this category. Your content strategy and SEO should tackle the questions: Who am I trying to reach, What do I need to tell them, and How am I going to do that? MarketMuse’s extensive content strategy guide notes that an effective content strategy outlines business goals and aligns with SEO.

Depending on your company’s scale, you may want to hire someone to help you develop a strategy, manage a team of writers, designers, and developers, and keep an eye on metrics to ensure your messaging is on target and getting the results you need. However, be aware that it can take six months or more to gain traction and that there are some questions you’ll want to ask when hiring an SEO expert.

Here are five steps you can take today to ensure that you successfully communicate about your brand to reach your intended audience.

1. Identify who you want to reach

Regardless of company scale or team size, an effective content strategy begins with research and planning. This step can be time-consuming but is so important. It’s the foundation for building your overall content strategy.

The first rule of content is: know your audience. Who are you trying to talk to and why? Get as specific as you can in this step. For example, identify an age range, gender, if applicable, socioeconomic status, and interests. It is sometimes helpful to create an avatar or character to represent your target market and talk specifically to that person. If you nail your demographic, your message will carry.

Once you know who you’re targeting, make sure what you’re saying to them makes sense. For example, promoting your retirement savings 101 blog cluster and planning tools will not be effective if your language and approach only appeal to a 60-year-old.

2. Sell a lifestyle, not a product

This is one of the trickiest elements of content marketing strategy for any company to master. But, first, it’s important to remember that content isn’t about directly promoting a product or about making a sale. At least, not overtly.

Content strategy is about building relationships and offering something your audience values and needs: information. If your information is solid and you get it in front of the right people, you will build trust and drive conversions over time. It’s helpful to think about strategies employed by large brands – especially what they don’t do.

Athletic shoe companies don’t bore you with all the technical specs of their product; they show you an image of athletes running fast or thriving in their sport. They let you imagine yourself succeeding in the same way. Similarly, the best tech companies don’t talk about RAM or GPUs in their ads. Instead, they show you how sleek you look with the latest gadget. They show you how much that gadget will simplify your daily tasks.

If you work too hard to tell your audience about the details of your product (which may be exciting and important) in your content marketing, you’re going to bore them and lose them.

3. Make sure your content is on point

Great content isn’t necessarily about volume. If what you’re offering is sound, you don’t have to drone on forever. For example, we’re all annoyed by recipe blogs that make you scroll through five pages of irrelevant nonsense to get to what’s of value to you: the recipe.

If you want to avoid being the next recipe blog cliche, ensure your writing and graphics are clean and clearly communicate the data or insights you want to highlight. Plan social media posts to be playful and fun and get to the point right away. Attention spans are minimal when people are scrolling.

Your written content (emails, blogs, website copy) should be clean, clearly written, and well structured. Organize your site to include a search feature, ensure it is responsive to various devices and has multiple easy-to-find navigation options. The key is to eliminate the need for your audience to work to find what they want.

4. Use your digital tools thoughtfully

To ensure your content rises above all that noise online, you absolutely need to include SEO in your content strategy. This is where brands can get a little intimidated, confused, or overzealous, however.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is not as esoteric as you might think, but it takes time, research, and effort to implement correctly. SEO can include keywords that help ensure your page shows up in search results, your website’s design and security, and your site’s responsiveness to different screen sizes.

So, what does that mean? Well, the answer to that may vary, but a few essential points will put you on the right track. First, you want to ensure you’re not basing your content strategy on SEO considerations and keywords.

The result will be that your content feels shoehorned around obvious keywords (because it is) and won’t offer much value to readers. Maybe you’ll appear in search results, but that won’t do anything for you once people click on your page and decide there’s nothing valuable. At that point, you’ve lost trust. You may also lose those initial clicks as search algorithms constantly evolve.

The key is ensuring you are offering quality information to your target audience. Make sure that information is clear and that your website is navigable, and then find ways to work in keywords naturally. Also, don’t be afraid to use social media to toot your horn.

5. Post often and repurpose content

In addition to optimizing your website and content, you’ll want to plan a solid social media strategy and use appropriate posting techniques to boost your web traffic and conversions. The good news is that not everything you post has to reinvent the wheel. For example, it is ok to repurpose the same link with slightly different messaging.

It’s also important to remember to post on different platforms for different reasons. If you’re trying to talk to a Gen Z demographic, you’re probably not going to be successful if your entire social media presence is based on Facebook. You might look at Instagram or TikTok instead.

As with blog and website content, you’re not going to be effective if you simply post ad copy on social media. Instead, find innovative and fun ways to draw your audience in. Make them laugh. Tell them how to solve a problem. Teach them a new skill.

And don’t forget to update your blog copy, too. For example, you might have a blog that predicts the best crypto investments in March. You can create an updated version in April without starting from scratch.

If you take the time to do your homework, develop a solid plan, allow your strategy appropriate time to work, and measure results (and use those to revise your plan, and so on), you have a solid foundation for your content marketing presence. Make sure your content is tailored to the right audience, easy to read, easy to navigate, and actionable, and you can’t go wrong.

Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska; Pexels; Thanks!

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.

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On-Page SEO Checklist for Beginners

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SEO Affiliate Marketing Programs - The Ultimate Guide


Following this On-Page SEO Checklist helped us quickly reach 100,000 visitors per month on an affiliate website with 30% informational content and 70% commercial content.

It’s important to take care of your On-Page SEO to rank higher in Google and other search engines. For this reason, we’re going to be discussing the official checklist you need to keep in mind if you want to make sure your website is ranking as high as possible on Google Search results.

Here’s a checklist of the most important On Page SEO factors:

1. Title tags

The title tag is the first thing that people see when they land on your website. It’s also one of the most important elements of on-page SEO.

Your title tag should be:

  • Unique and descriptive
  • No more than 60 characters long
  • Relevant to your content
  • Optimized for your target keywords

2. Meta Descriptions

The meta description is the short text that appears under your title tag in the search results. Although it doesn’t directly affect your rankings, it’s still an important element of on-page SEO.

Your meta description should be:

  • Under 155 characters long
  • Relevant to your content
  • Optimized for your target keywords

3. H1 Tags

The H1 tag is the second most important on-page SEO factor (after the title tag). It’s a large, bold font that appears at the top of your web page. Google gives extra weight to words that appear in H1 tags, so it’s important to include your target keywords here.

Your H1 tag should be:

  • Relevant to your content
  • Optimized for your target keywords

4. Keyword Density

Keyword density is the number of times a keyword appears on a page, divided by the total number of words on the page. Although there’s no perfect keyword density, a good rule of thumb is to aim for 1-2%. This means that if you have a 1000-word article, you should use your target keyword 1-2 times.

 

5. Image Alt Text

Alt text is the short text that appears when you hover over an image. It’s also an important factor for on-page SEO.

Your image alt text should be:

  • Relevant to your content
  • Optimized for your target keywords

6. Internal Links

Internal links are links that point from one page on your website to another page on your website. They’re important for two reasons:

  • They help visitors navigate your website
  • They help search engines understand your website structure

When linking to other pages on your website, make sure to:

  • Use relevant anchor text (the clickable text)
  • Use keyword-rich anchor text
  • Link to relevant pages
  • Use a reasonable number of links per page

7. External Links

External links are links that point from your website to another website. They’re important for two reasons:

  • They help visitors find related information
  • They help search engines understand what your website is about

When linking to other websites, make sure to:

  • Link to high-quality websites
  • Use relevant anchor text
  • Use keyword-rich anchor text
  • Link to relevant pages
  • Use a reasonable number of links per page

8. Page Load Speed

Page load speed is the amount of time it takes for a page on your website to load. It’s an important factor for both visitors and search engines. If your pages take too long to load, visitors will get frustrated and leave. Search engines also penalize slow-loading websites.

There are a few things you can do to improve your page load speed, including:

  • Optimizing your images
  • Minimizing your code
  • Using a content delivery network
  • Enabling browser caching

9. Mobile-Optimization — Means Mobile Friendly

Mobile-friendliness is another important factor for both visitors and search engines. In fact, Google has announced that they will be prioritizing mobile-friendly websites in their search results. This means that if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, it will be penalized in the search results.

There are a few things you can do to make your website more mobile-friendly, including:

  • Using a responsive design
  • Optimizing your images
  • Minimizing your code
  • Enabling browser caching

10. Social Media

Social media is an important factor for on-page SEO. Not only do social signals help search engines understand what your website is about, but they also help drive traffic to your website. The more social signals you have, the better.

There are a few things you can do to improve your social media presence, including:

  • Creating social media profiles on popular platforms
  • Posting high-quality content
  • Engaging with other users
  • Using social media plugins on your website

On-page SEO is an important part of any SEO strategy. By optimizing your web pages for your target keywords, you can improve your website’s visibility and organic traffic. Follow the tips in this article to start improving your on-page SEO today.

Additional SEO Checklists

You should never look at SEO as only On-Page SEO, but a holistic strategy that encompasses:

  • On-Page SEO
  • Off-Page SEO
  • Technical SEO

SEO Checklist for On-Page Optimization

  1. Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions.
  2. Use keyword-rich headings and subheadings.
  3. Use keyword-rich anchor text when linking to other pages on your website.
  4. Use keyword-rich alt text for your images.
  5. Optimize your page load speed.
  6. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
  7. Promote your content on social media.
  8. Use relevant, high-quality external links.
  9. Implement Google Authorship if you’re an author.
  10. Use structured data mark-up where appropriate.

Checklist for Technical SEO

  1. Register your website with Google Search Console.
  2. Submit your sitemap to Google Search Console.
  3. Set up robots.txt file.
  4. 301 redirects if you change your URL structure.
  5. Use canonical tags to avoid duplicate content issues.
  6. Make sure your website is accessible to search engine crawlers.
  7. Use an SSL certificate to make your website more secure.
  8. Fix any broken links on your website.
  9. Minimize your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code. Check for errors using validators like the W3C Markup Validation Service.
  10. Improve your server response time. Shoot for a response time of under 200 ms.
  1. Get high-quality inbound links from trusted websites.
  2. Promote your content on social media.
  3. Participate in online forums and discussion groups.
  4. Submit your website to directories and listings sites.
  5. Give away freebies and run contests.
  6. Speak at conferences and events.
  7. Conduct interviews with industry experts.
  8. Write guest posts on other websites.
  9. Create infographics and videos.
  10. Monitor your SEO progress with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Perform regular keyword research to find new target keywords.
  1. Optimize your Google My Business listing.
  2. Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions.
  3. Use keyword-rich headings and subheadings.
  4. Use keyword-rich anchor text when linking to other pages on your website.
  5. Optimize your images with keyword-rich alt text.
  6. Add your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) to your website.
  7. Add your business NAP to online directories and listings sites.
  8. Create location-specific pages for each of your locations.
  9. Monitor your SEO progress with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Perform regular keyword research to find new target keywords.
  10. Hire an SEO company or consultant to help you with your local SEO efforts.

SEO Checklist for Ecommerce Websites

  1. Optimize your product pages for your target keywords.
  2. Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions.
  3. Use keyword-rich headings and subheadings.
  4. Use keyword-rich anchor text when linking to other pages on your website.
  5. Optimize your images with keyword-rich alt text.
  6. Add product reviews and testimonials to your website.
  7. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
  8. Promote your content on social media.
  9. Conduct interviews with industry experts.
  10. Monitor your SEO progress with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Perform regular keyword research to find new target keywords.
  11. Hire an SEO company or consultant to help you with your ecommerce SEO efforts.

SEO Checklist for Small Business Websites

  1. Optimize your website for your target keywords.
  2. Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions.
  3. Use keyword-rich headings and subheadings.
  4. Use keyword-rich anchor text when linking to other pages on your website.
  5. Optimize your images with keyword-rich alt text.
  6. Add your business NAP to your website.
  7. Add your business NAP to online directories and listings sites.
  8. Promote your content on social media.
  9. Conduct interviews with industry experts.
  10. Monitor your SEO progress with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Perform regular keyword research to find new target keywords.
  11. Hire an SEO company or consultant to help you with your small business SEO efforts.

SEO Checklist for WordPress Websites

  1. Optimize your website for your target keywords.
  2. Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions.
  3. Use keyword-rich headings and subheadings.
  4. Use keyword-rich anchor text when linking to other pages on your website.
  5. Optimize your images with keyword-rich alt text.
  6. Add social media sharing buttons to your website.
  7. Promote your content on social media.
  8. Conduct interviews with industry experts.
  9. Install an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack.
  10. Monitor your SEO progress with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Perform regular keyword research to find new target keywords.
  11. Hire an SEO company or consultant to help you with your WordPress SEO efforts.
  12. Use a WordPress theme that is optimized for SEO.
  13. Use a WordPress caching plugin to speed up your website.
  14. Use a WordPress CDN like CloudFlare or MaxCDN.
  15. Install Google Analytics on your WordPress website.
  16. Install Google Search Console on your WordPress website.
  17. Submit your XML sitemap to Google Search Console.
  18. Set up 301 redirects if you ever change your permalinks or migrate your website to a new domain.
  19. Use pretty permalinks (e.g., /category/post-name/) instead of ugly permalinks (e.g., /?p=123).
  20. Avoid using too many plugins on your WordPress website.
  21. Avoid using common keywords in your permalinks.
  22. Avoid using stop words in your permalinks.
  23. Use keyword-rich titles for your blog posts and pages.
  24. Use keyword-rich meta descriptions for your blog posts and pages.
  25. Optimize your blog post images with keyword-rich alt text.
  26. Interlink your blog posts with each other to help boost your SEO.
  27. Promote your blog content on social media.
  28. Conduct interviews with industry experts and include them in your blog posts.
  29. Allow comments on your blog posts and respond to them.
  30. Monitor your SEO progress with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Perform regular keyword research to find new target keywords.
  31. Hire an SEO company or consultant to help you with your WordPress SEO efforts.

SEO Checklist for Wix Websites

  1. Optimize your website for your target keywords.
  2. Use keyword-rich titles and descriptions.
  3. Use keyword-rich headings and subheadings.
  4. Use keyword-rich anchor text when linking to other pages on your website.
  5. Optimize your images with keyword-rich alt text.
  6. Add social media sharing buttons to your website.
  7. Promote your content on social media.
  8. Conduct interviews with industry experts.

Conclusion

By following the SEO checklist items above, you can help improve your website’s search engine ranking and visibility, which can lead to more traffic and customers. If you need help with your SEO efforts, consider hiring an experienced SEO company or consultant.

Feature Image Credit: Pixabay; Pexels; Thank you!

Lucas Vitale

Lucas is the Co-Founder & CEO at SEO Assistance. With a decade of experience in SEO, he has used his skillset to help grow thousands of businesses around the world.

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Boosting Your Business Using Visuals That Resonate With Your Audience

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Matias Colotuzzo


How important are visuals to a business and its brand reputation? How important is it to pick the right visuals for your business and your intended tone and messaging?

The short answer: very important. But first, let’s take a little deeper dive into why.

Anecdotally, I think anyone can remember an occasion where our first impression of a business/brand was established by something we saw. Whether that was an advertisement on TV, a storefront display you walked by, or countless other examples.

That impression often lasts and is the first thing that comes to mind when someone references that brand. This underscores the importance of selecting the right visuals to align with your brand.

Scientifically, this idea that visuals used by businesses tend to leave the longest lasting and most impactful impression can be explained through a couple of key data points.

Research shows that 90% of information transmitted to our brains is visual, and further to this point, our brains actually process visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

Visuals hold immense marketing value to businesses of all sizes and industries. But how can those brands ensure their chosen visuals boost their interaction with the right messaging and tone?

How to boost your business using visuals

As businesses look to leverage visuals to grow the business, they must ensure any. All visuals they employ serve four essential purposes: help your business stand out from the crowd, be in line with your intended messaging, resonates with your intended audience, and finally, align with the current trends of the day, when possible.

First, it is absolutely essential that any messaging used in your visuals — whether it is actual text-based messaging or more rooted in visual implications — is in line with the message you intend to send to consumers and the overall tone and message of your brand.

Yes, picking the flashiest and most attention-grabbing visuals can definitely get the attention of many consumers. But what’s the point if those visuals draw consumers in without actually communicating your brand’s intended messaging?

Not only could you be wasting your marketing budget, but it could have a pretty profound impact on the overall brand image of your business. Marketing industry research shows 71% of companies agree that inconsistent brand presentation often leads to customer confusion, damaging brand reputation and image.

With your messaging finely tuned and tailored to your brand and its intended brand image, the next area you will want to address is picking visuals to help your business stand out from your competitors.

Selecting attention-grabbing and visually stimulating visuals will guarantee a long-lasting impression in the minds of the consumers you wish to attract.

Reinforce Your Brand Image

Beyond simply picking the visuals that stand out the most — which is essential — you can also use this as an opportunity to reinforce your brand’s image and message through a visual component, like a signature color scheme.

If you do not already have a signature brand color, establishing one is powerfully recommended, as research shows that leveraging a signature color scheme can increase your brand recognition by 80%.

The last two critical aspects of boosting your business with visuals — ensuring you are resonating with the right audience and leveraging any trends of the day when possible — are pretty closely tied together, at least in terms of a technological solution.

But let’s first touch on the importance of these two aspects before we dive into the technology available today that directly addresses these critical issues in a way that could change your brand’s marketing efforts now and far into the future.

Attracting the right audience with the trends of today

First, you must ensure your visuals resonate with the right audience. Yes, you can have attention-grabbing visuals tailored to precisely the messaging your business wants to communicate. Still, if the visuals you chose do not resonate with the right audience, all those efforts are for naught.

In the past, ensuring your visuals resonate with the right audience would require a dedicated market research team, which is often expensive, time-consuming, and simply not feasible for businesses of a smaller size.

Quite similarly, for businesses aiming to align their marketing efforts with the most current trends — visual or otherwise — the old school methods of engaging with the public and conducting market research are quickly becoming outdated and becoming too expensive and time-consuming for businesses of all sizes.

Using Modern Solutions

So what modern solutions to this problem exist for today’s businesses at an affordable price and with the flexibility and scalability needed in today’s business landscape?

Today, technologies are available to shortcut this process and revolutionize how businesses stay in tune with their preferred consumer audience and the trends that will resonate with the consumers of the day, which we will dive into shortly.

Leveraging technology to resonate with your audience

As mentioned, ensuring their visuals resonate with the right audience is two of the biggest challenges for those looking to boost their business. The other is ensuring those visuals leverage the trends consumers are paying attention to.

These issues have challenged businesses and their visual design teams for decades. The consequences of not aligning visuals with the right audience or trends — whether visuals on your actual products or visuals used in your marketing campaigns — can be immense.

Failing to align with these critical aspects could leave you with large amounts of inventory that consumers have no interest in, or even worse, having dumped your entire marketing budget into a campaign whose visuals are not resonating with the right consumers and leaving you with no budget left over to pivot your visuals for a renewed marketing effort.

Keep Your Business in Tune With its Intended Audience

In the past, without the technologies available today, attempting to keep your business in tune with its intended audience while using the current trends of the day was a burdensome, time-consuming, and expensive task.

For businesses who could afford it, these efforts most often fell into hiring a market research team. Still, this strategy is not viable for companies of all sizes, as the costs associated with employing a market research team can be pretty significant and untenable for smaller businesses.

Keep Your Business in Tune With Current Trends

For other businesses with less available capital, staying in touch with their audience and the trends of the day requires the business owner and their staff to remain personally immersed in the market and its trends; looking to engage with existing customers to ensure their needs are being met or meeting potential new customers at industry events to get a sense of what your intended audience is looking for from your brand.

For one thing, the latter strategy lacks accuracy, and both of these strategies lack the agility, flexibility, and scalability required by many businesses in today’s modern landscape.

So how can these businesses leverage technology to shortcut these processes?

Scalable and affordable data-driven design engines

In today’s modern age, technology plays a crucial role in helping businesses ensure their visuals are aligned with their intended audience and the most recent trends.

One key area of technology that is ripe to be leveraged by today’s brands as they look to boost their business with visuals is the modern and innovative data-driven design engines available on the market.

Use the Right Data-Driven Design Engine

The right data-driven design engine (try Vexels dot com) — powered by the analysis of your target audience through various aspects like global trends, search trends, download transactions, and subscriber requests — will allow businesses to leverage increased visibility and insight into their market and its trends to enable them to pinpoint the exact visuals that will resonate with their audience and succeed at aligning with the trends of today.

Not only does the right data-driven design engine truly guarantee your business is leveraging the right visuals for its products, services, and marketing efforts, but it also does so while providing significant savings in terms of both budget spent and hours allocated and the scalability and flexibility needed in today’s business landscape.

Conclusion

With today’s technology available to them, businesses of all types and sizes can leverage the power of visuals to boost their business with more impact than ever before.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by RODNAE Productions; Pexels; Thank you!

Matias Colotuzzo

Matias Colotuzzo is the Co-Founder and CEO of Vexels, a graphic design company focused on merch, print-on-demand, and unique designs. Matias is constantly looking for new ways to combine technology with daily tasks while improving the web experience.

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The Pros and Cons of a 4-Day Workweek

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Calendar


Henry Ford’s five-day work week was seen in 1926 as a revolution when it gave his employees Saturdays off. How gracious of him, right? And a short time later, in 1932, the five-day week was officially codified for all workers in the United States. But, after a century of Ford’s “radical” idea — is the next workplace innovation the four-day workweek?

However, companies of all sizes have been tinkering with four-day work weeks worldwide. Down in New Zealand, consumer-goods corporation Unilever implemented a 12-month test run of a shorter work week. The four-day working week became a reality in Spain in March of 2021 after several dozen companies participated in a pilot project. Fundraising company Kickstarter will test the four-day work week with employees in 2022. Also, in 2022, home improvement retailer Lowe’s adopted a four-day workweek.

But that’s not all. Scotland, Iceland, Japan, Belgium, and the United Arab Emirates all have four-day workweek pilot programs in the works. Additionally, Democratic Congressman Mark Takano introduced legislation reducing the standard workweek from 40 to 32 hours here in the United States.

The world’s most extensive 4-day workweek trial run occurred in the U.K. in 2022.

All eyes are on the U.K.

To determine whether a similar model is possible and supported in the United States, over 3,300 workers and 70 British companies participated in the trial in the U.K.

According to Eagle Hill Consulting, 83% of respondents agreed that a four-day workweek would reduce burnout. In a Joblist survey, 94% of job seekers said they wanted a four-day workweek. But did the study back these claims up? Here’s what the study showed:

  • According to 51% of employees, they can do their jobs to their fullest potential in 40 hours or less
  • In 85% of the survey responses, respondents said it was logistically possible to work four days a week
  • A 4-day workweek was cited as a benefit by 94% of respondents
  • Approximately 28% of full-time employees would consider a four-day week in exchange for a pay cut

So far, so good. But is a four-day workweek really a good idea? Well, let’s weigh the pros and cons.

What is a Four-Day Workweek?

Before getting too far ahead of ourselves, let’s have a brief rundown on what exactly a four-day workweek is.

You could work 32 hours with a four-day workweek without losing productivity, pay, or benefits. There might be a Monday-through-Thursday work week with Fridays off — depending on the industry and the company. Alternatively, each employee could choose their third day off, or the company could have a third different day off policy on Mondays or Wednesdays.

Both options have their pros and cons. When everyone works at the same time, collaborative work is enhanced. But the company will be unstaffed when most others are. Individual employees may prefer a flexible third day off, but teams may struggle with it.

It may seem unorthodox to work a four-day week. Over the last century, however, we have gradually reduced the number of hours worked per week.

In 1890, a full-time employee within a manufacturing plant worked an average of 100 hours per week, according to the United States government. But, by the mid-20th century, manufacturing employees were on average working 40 hours a week. So, as radical as it may seem, reducing our current work week to 28 hours is not as drastic as it may seem.

The Pros of a Four-Day Workweek

In a report in The Atlantic, people who work a four-day week say they’re healthier, happier, and less stressed. As a result, their employers report that their employees are more productive and focused. In addition, 94% of employees have a positive sense of well-being when they feel their employer cares about them. Also, according to research, it is best not to work intensively for more than four hours per day.

Some of the most significant advantages of a four-day work week are as follows.

Increased productivity.

The relationship between productivity and hours worked was studied by Sanford University. It was found that those who work an overworked schedule are actually less productive than those with a regular work schedule.

During a trial study conducted by a New Zealand company, Perpetual Guardian, four-day work weeks were tested. In addition to maintaining their productivity levels, employees improved their job satisfaction, teamwork, work/life balance, and loyalty to the company. There was also a decrease in stress from 45% to 38% of employees.

Norway, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands, along with some of the world’s most productive countries, work on average 27 hours a week, the same hours suggested for a four-day work week in the U.K. In contrast, Japan, a country notorious for overworked employees, ranks 20th out of 35 countries in terms of productivity. In fact, Japan’s four-day workweek experiment led to a 40% increase in productivity.

Physical and mental well-being is improved.

Several positive side effects are reported by employees who work fewer days per week. Whether it’s exercising more, finishing a Master’s program earlier, volunteering more, or maintaining a healthy work-life balance, these measures can help. In turn, this contributes to a worker’s increased productivity. “I like to take walks … just wander and let my brain breathe,” Natalie Nagele, Wildbit CEO, told The Atlantic.

A more balanced life leads to less stress for parents with children. In addition, they spend more time with their families. In addition, caregivers of aging parents have the opportunity to help them. “One of the biggest factors in people’s level of work-family satisfaction is the pure number of work hours they have,” Melissa Milkie, a sociologist at the University of Toronto who studies time use, told The Atlantic. “So cutting it is huge … It would re-balance things for working families.”

“I can enjoy my weekend now because I’ve got my Friday for my chores and my other bits and pieces or… if I want to take my mum out for a walk, I can do that now without feeling guilty, Lisa Gilbert, a lending services manager at Charity Bank, told CNN Business.

In addition to caring for her son and two elderly parents, Gilbert gets an extra day off a week, which allows her to spend more time with them.

“I find that I’m saying ‘yes we can as opposed to ‘no, sorry we can’t,’” she said.

Enhanced motivation.

A compressed or reduced 4-day workweek can motivate your employees. As with any other benefit, it’s perceived as a way for the company to support its employees both on and off the clock.

Moreover, the rarity of these programs may encourage your staff to work hard to earn them or keep them.

It has improved employee engagement.

Employees are more likely to be satisfied and committed if they have four days off each week. They have enough time to rest and recover, which allows them to return to work feeling ready to take on new responsibilities.

A study conducted by Sweden in 2015-2017 investigated the effects of shorter work weeks on nurses. Nurses were working solely six hours a day and five days a week. Results showed nurses logged fewer sick days, reported better health, and engaged patients 85% more.

Reduced costs.

Over half, 51%, of business leaders surveyed by Henley Business School reported savings on facilities and utilities, and almost two-thirds reported increased productivity.

Downtime is reduced.

Employees have that extra day off during traditional business hours to schedule personal needs. As a result, they can make doctor’s and other appointments on their regular day off without taking time away from work. According to the same study, 62% of business leaders report that fewer sick days are taken.

We have increased employee attraction and retention.

It has been reported that job postings listing four-day workweeks have tripled within the last five years. Post-pandemic challenges may make this trend continue. As the competition for talent surges, top job seekers are looking for the best potential opportunities.

Furthermore, focusing on wellness and avoiding burnout is key to retaining employees. In a 2020 Gallup poll of over 10,000 workers, workers who worked a 4-day week reported the lowest level of job burnout. Among employees with a four-day work week, 63% reported thriving wellbeing.

A smaller carbon footprint.

In countries with shorter working hours, the carbon footprint is typically smaller. Consequently, reducing our work week from 5 to 4 days could also have environmental benefits. In addition, the shorter working week eases employee commutes and means large office buildings spend less time unused.

Utah’s state government employees showed a significant environmental impact from reducing work week length from five to four days through a compressed work schedule during a trial conducted in the state. Over $1.8 million was saved in energy costs due to closing the large office building on Fridays. In addition, the state estimates it could save 12,000 metric tons of CO2 by working one day less a week, equivalent to removing 2,300 cars from the road for one year.

The Cons of a Four-Day Workweek

It is true that a four-day work week has many benefits. But there are also a few disadvantages that shouldn’t be ignored. For example, the study involving Swedish nurses found that the project wasn’t cost-effective in the long run.

There is a cost.

Some argue that recruiting employees would be expensive with a four-day work week. In the U.S., as in other countries, employers offer full-time employees more than just their annual salary. They also throw in benefits like pensions and health insurance. As a result, employers may not be able to hire more employees to cover the reduced number of working hours.

Additionally, many workers in many countries prefer working fewer days a week – or fewer hours – in return for a higher salary. YouGov and HuffPost surveyed approximately 50% of American workers in 2014 and found that they would work an additional day a week for 20% more pay. Part-time workers were even more likely to make the trade.

It decreased customer satisfaction.

Despite providing some great environmental results and employer and employee benefits, the Utah study closed due to unsatisfactory customer feedback. Due to government offices being closed on Fridays, customers complained they couldn’t access government services.

However, companies can improve customer satisfaction by using technology, such as chatbots and AI-powered websites. How? By allowing customers another avenue for support instead of relying solely on employees.

Not everyone can participate.

A four-day work week is challenging to implement for some industries that require 24/7 availability. A four-day work week, for example, may make it difficult for your business to manage customer service problems.

Companies must deal with problems during the weekday and weekends regardless of the industry. However, planning and forethought are required to cover every aspect of the business during the workday.

Scheduling conflicts.

Compressing the workweek may be complicated by the need for your team to assist customers or other team members. Furthermore, this can make finding appropriate coverage during working hours a chore.

Additionally, internal scheduling may cause problems in managing client needs. For example, scheduled meetings can be planned in advance in the workweek. On the other hand, impromptu or emergency meetings might be more problematic.

Also, when employees who are off cannot attend brainstorming sessions, there may be limited input. How often these events occur in an organization may determine whether a 4-day workweek is feasible.

Workers may still put in the same amount of time.

In some cases, reducing hours may not be feasible for specific jobs. For example, one experiment in France found that workers put in the same number of hours regardless of the four-day work week. So what’s the only difference? Overtime costs were added to the company’s expenses.

Added stress.

There’s nothing better than a 3-day weekend, is there? Businesses usually structure their 4-day week this way (Mondays and Fridays off). To maintain that benefit, you will have to work harder during your ‘on’ days to ensure you don’t lose your ‘off’ days.

Most employees surveyed said a four-day week helped them maintain a work/life balance. So having a flexible schedule is a plus. But if the work portion adds more stress, it might not be worth it.

Should You Adopt a Four-Day Workweek?

There are many advantages to condensing workweeks, such as increased productivity and more time to pursue personal interests. But, at the same time, some industries, businesses, or individuals don’t work well with a four-day schedule. In addition, it won’t magically fix toxic workplaces or unpleasant jobs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a reevaluation of work worldwide, which has increased interest in four-day workweeks. As a result, we must adjust our mindset and culture to make it the new normal, deemphasize work, and examine work activities that can be automated, deprioritized, and eliminated.

However, if you want to give a four-day workweek a try, consider the following strategies:

  • Clearly define your goals
  • Make sure your goals are achievable within a shorter work week
  • Tasks should be prioritized and reevaluated
  • Work asynchronously
  • Keep interruptions and distractions to a minimum
  • Don’t measure hours, measure outcomes
  • Automate more tasks
  • Create a culture that emphasizes human creativity
  • Work-based social events should be limited
  • Meetings should be reduced and shortened
  • Pay employees as usual
  • Regularly solicit feedback from employees
  • Don’t micromanage your team
  • Experiment and learn from your mistakes

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