Back Office Staffing Solutions That May Help Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises Transition to a Four-Day Workweek

Published: July 19, 2023
SuperStaff agents attend to clients for back office staffing solutions.

Representative Mark Takano, a congressman from California, made headlines for introducing the Four-Day Workweek Bill (or 32-Hour Workweek Act) in July 2021. This bill, which aimed to reduce the national workweek standard from 40 hours to 32 hours, gained endorsements from many members of Congress and attained widespread support from U.S. labor groups.

Over two years later, the four-day workweek still has not become the norm in the U.S. and across the globe. However, as the tight international labor market continues, many businesses are considering adopting shortened work hours to attract and retain more quality employees.

Let’s look at the latest news on the four-day workweek trials worldwide. Then, we’ll discuss how outsourcing back office staffing solutions can help businesses of all sizes and industries ease the transition to shorter work hours without sacrificing operational efficiency.

The State of the Four-Day Workweek in 2023

In the UK

  • 4 out of 5 companies believe flexible working is essential.
  • 7 out of 10 employees desire four-day workweek.
  • 90% of participating companies plan to continue the four-day workweek after a trial run.
  • Of 61 companies, 18 have decided to adopt it permanently.

Work flexibility is fast becoming a top priority for employees and employers in the United Kingdom. According to recent surveys, 4 out of 5 UK companies believe flexible working is essential to their business success. Meanwhile, 7 out of 10 employees say the four-day workweek is their desired flexible schedule.

The good news is that the shorter workweek may soon become a reality for many people in the UK.

In a nationwide four-day workweek trial run that occurred between June and December 2022, over 90% of participating companies plan to continue the work arrangement until further notice. Of 61 companies, 18 have decided to adopt the 32-hour workweek permanently.

In the U.S.

  • Most U.S. companies still operate on a five-day workweek.
  • 75% of employees say they are willing to work ten-hour shifts for a 32-hour week.
  • American labor groups continue to advocate for shortened workweeks.
  • Companies worry about potentially decreased productivity, increased costs, and drastic operational changes.

As of June 2023, most U.S. companies still operate on a five-day workweek. However, some companies are using the 32-hour week as a benefit to attract more quality candidates, and workers are making their preferences known by flocking to employers who offer these shorter work hours.

In a recent Washington Post survey, 75% of employees say they are willing to work ten-hour shifts as long as they will only work four days a week. The same study found that 73% would not want shorter workweeks if it meant a decrease in pay.

American labor groups continue to advocate for shortened workweeks that retain full-time wages. However, many businesses continue to be concerned about potentially decreased productivity, increased costs, and having to make complex changes to their daily operations.


  • Ireland, Spain, Japan, and Belgium, have been pilot-testing the 32-hour workweek with success.
  • Iceland trial run resulted in better work-life balance and improved productivity.
  • 90% of Icelandic workers (represented by unions) won the right to request shorter workweeks.
  • Four-day week is still not an automatic benefit for all employees in Iceland.

Outside the U.S. and the UK, the four-day workweek is picking up steam in many parts of the world. Dozens of countries, including Ireland, Spain, Japan, and Belgium, have been pilot-testing the 32-hour workweek with overwhelming success.

One particular country, Iceland, has been ahead of the curve, leading the world’s largest four-day workweek trial runs. Between 2015 to 2019, the Nordic nation ran a pilot test with over 2,500 participants, and the results were positive, with employees reporting better work-life balance and improved productivity.

In 2022, 90% of Icelandic workers (represented by unions) won the right to request shorter workweeks. The four-day week is still not an automatic benefit for all employees, but individuals now have the opportunity to negotiate for more flexibility in their work arrangements.

The Powerful Advantages of the Four-Day Workweek

  • Allows employees to get more work done in less time.
  • Job seekers are more likely to flock to companies that offer four-day workweeks as a benefit.
  • Decreasing work hours makes people happier overall.
  • 90% of global workers gave a rating of 9.1 out of 10 and stated their wish to continue with this schedule.
  • Employee stress, work/family life conflict, and fatigue decreased.

Preferred by the Majority of Employees

The main advantage of the four-day workweek is that employees overwhelmingly prefer it, which means that job seekers are more likely to flock to companies that offer this schedule. Amid a historically competitive job market, businesses that provide four-day workweeks as a benefit have a significant advantage.

In a six-month trial in the UK, among workers who participated in the program:

  • 90% said they definitely wanted to continue with this schedule.
  • 55% reported being better able to do their work.
  • 15% said no amount of money would make them want to return to the five-day workweek.

Happier Workers Are More Likely to Stay

Why do employees overwhelmingly prefer the four-day workweek? Researchers found that decreasing work hours makes people happier overall. To employees, shorter work hours mean more time spent on health, less stress, and better work-life balance.

According to a University of Cambridge study, here are the personal and health benefits of the four-day workweek:

  • 65% fewer sick days
  • 57% fewer employees quitting
  • 71% less likely to “burn out”
  • 39% less stressed

Meanwhile, a different global trial echoed these results. When asked to rate their experience with the four-day workweek, 90% of workers gave a rating of 9.1 out of 10 and stated their wish to continue with this schedule. 

At the same time, employee stress, work/family life conflict, and fatigue decreased during the trial run, illustrating the positive effects of the shorter workweek on people’s mental health. Studies also found that people participating in the four-day workweek reported getting more sleep and exercise.

Improved Productivity

Although the four-day workweek trials focused primarily on the benefits for workers, this schedule also offers advantages for companies.

Contrary to what some may believe, having fewer work days doesn’t decrease productivity. In fact, it can actually have an energizing effect on workers, empowering them to become more productive during the week.

In a nutshell, a four-day workweek allows employees to get more work done in less time, improving overall efficiency and productivity.

In 2019, Microsoft Japan pilot-tested a four-day workweek, resulting in a 40% productivity boost. Three years later, global trials were performed with similar findings. When asked to rate their employees’ productivity (while doing 100% of their regular workload at only 80% of the time), employers gave a 7.7 out of 10 rating.

How Back Office Support Solutions Help Fast-Track a Four-Day Workweek

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of the four-day workweek, you may ask yourself, “How can I take advantage of this work arrangement without sacrificing the quality of my existing operations?”

Indeed, one of the main concerns reiterated by employers is that adopting a 32-hour workweek may effectively scale down their business. Although sensible executives would agree that longer hours don’t necessarily mean higher productivity, the reality is that some jobs require workers to put in hours to complete the work on time.

If the 32-hour workweek becomes the standard, some projects may take longer to finish, customer service may be less available to consumers on off days, and industries with fluctuating demand may struggle to handle increasing labor costs.

Working with an outsourced back-office team may offer a practical compromise for companies significantly affected by the transition to a four-day workweek.

Outsourcing companies in the Philippines, one of the world’s top outsourcing destinations, still follow the five-day workweek. Partnering with a BPO provider in this country helps ensure you finish all your work on time without overwhelming your onshore team.

What Are Back Office Solutions?

Simply put, back-office solutions refer to all your business’s administrative, non-client-facing roles, including everything from data entry to accounting to Information Technology (IT). The specific back-office services you can outsource will depend heavily on the nature of your industry and your company’s particular needs.

Which Customized Back Office Solutions Can Help Enterprises Transition to a Four-Day Workweek?

Back Office Retail Solution

Financial System

Logistics and Distribution

  • Warehouse and Inventory Management
  • Transportation of Goods
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management
  • Route Control

Sales and Marketing

  • Digital Marketing
  • Omnichannel Support
  • Product Cataloging
  • Retail Space Management

For retail, back office functions can cover a wide range of business processes, but they can be grouped into three main categories:

  • Financial System
  • Logistics and Distribution
  • Sales and Marketing

Under the Financial System category, which deals with properly distributing company resources and investment, we can find functions such as human resources and recruitment, accounting and bookkeeping, and legal services.

For Logistics and Distribution, which is responsible for storing, monitoring, and delivering goods, we can find the following back-office services:

  • Warehouse and Inventory Management
  • Transportation of Goods
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management
  • Route Control

Finally, we have Sales and Marketing, which is concerned with developing consumer interest in the brand and its products. The specific back-office functions involved in this category include:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Omnichannel Support
  • Product Cataloging
  • Retail Space Management

By outsourcing these simple yet critical roles to a BPO in the Philippines, retailers can drive all aspects of their business toward optimum productivity while also allowing their onshore staff to work for only four days a week. 

Back Office Solutions for Media and Communications

  • Document Management
  • Accounting and Bookkeeping
  • IT Support

The media and communications sector often deals with time-sensitive work and fluctuating demand. As such, if the four-day workweek becomes the national standard, this industry may benefit significantly from working with offshore back office providers who can help ensure that their projects can be completed on time.

Some back office outsourcing solutions they can delegate to a BPO provider include:

  • Document Management

Media companies handle much paperwork, including contracts, deals, content schedules, and other vital records. The right back office provider can handle everything from proper data entry to managing and organizing the documents.

  • Accounting and Bookkeeping

Media, especially the entertainment sector, can incur many costs while producing shows, movies, news, and other video content. A dedicated accounting and bookkeeping team can help keep costs under control and secure the company’s overall financial health.

  • IT Support

The demand for digital content is strong in the media and communications industry. As such, there is also an increasing need for dedicated IT professionals to help ensure all technological functions continue running smoothly.

Back Office Solutions for Banking and Finance

  • Loan Operations
  • Deposit Operations
  • Accounting
  • Compliance and Auditing
  • Underwriting
  • Information Technology

According to the World Retail Banking Report, around 77% of banks choose to outsource at least one part of their operations. Delegating administrative and support functions to offshore BPO providers allows financial institutions to ensure a seamless banking experience for their clients without adding too much to the workload of their core team.

As outsourced financial services are performed behind the scenes, banks and other financial institutions can focus on providing excellent customer experience, including helping clients manage their accounts and portfolios, addressing banking concerns, and providing needed financial advice and guidance.

Back Office Solutions for Manufacturing and Distribution

  • Human Resources
  • Finance
  • Research and Development
  • Inventory and Materials Management
  • Orders, Shipping, and Delivery

For many manufacturers, outsourcing to an offshore contact center is a cost-effective strategy that enables them to optimize and streamline their back office processes so that their core operations can run smoothly. Check out the specific functions typically outsourced by the manufacturing and distribution sector:

  • Human Resources

The manufacturing and distribution industry is very labor-intensive, so recruitment and human resources are crucial for ensuring the smooth running of business operations.

  • Finance

Financial functions are critical for all industries but particularly vital for manufacturing. In addition to accounting and bookkeeping, this back office solution can include tracking component orders, purchase orders, invoicing, and more.

  • Research and Development

Manufacturers are constantly innovating, adding new products to their line, or improving existing ones. As such, they’ll need assistance with end-to-end research and development, from conceptualization to production.

  • Inventory and Materials Management

Having too much inventory or ordering too many raw materials can incur excessive storage costs, limit flexibility, and reduce profits—meanwhile, insufficient stock causes delays in production and delivery. 

With a dedicated back office provider, you can better manage your warehouse and storage spaces to keep up with fluctuating demand.

  • Orders, Shipping, and Delivery

Order fulfillment is a crucial part of the manufacturing process, and it can get complicated when dealing with a large volume of purchases. A reliable BPO provider can keep track of all orders for you, helping ensure customers receive their purchases on time and minimizing delays, cancellations, or errors.

Back Office Solutions for the Automotive Industry

  • Finance and Accounting
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Warranty and Recall Management
  • Customer Support Sales
  • Parts Ordering and Inventory Management

Like the manufacturing and distribution sector, automotive companies outsource to save on costs. Since the industry deals with constantly shifting consumer demands, location-sensitive challenges, and supply chain disruptions, working with a back-office provider helps businesses improve their flexibility and resilience.

Those are the back office business solutions that may be beneficial for the automotive industry.

Insurance Back Office Solutions

  • Claims Processing 
  • Claims Administration
  • Underwriting Services
  • Certificate of Insurance (COI) Services
  • Insurance Endorsements Processing
  • Insurance Eligibility Verification Services
  • Insurance Policy Issuance Services
  • Insurance Policy Management
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Accounts Payable
  • Payroll
  • Auditor
  • Controller
  • Bookkeeper
  • Forensic Accountant

The past few years have brought significant disruption to the global insurance industry, including an ongoing labor shortage, a skills gap fueled by demand for digitization, and skyrocketing wages across the board. Now, the four-day workweek threatens to disrupt the industry once more.

Through insurance outsourcing services, companies can navigate this tricky transition period and begin future-proofing their operations.

Back Office Solutions for Healthcare

  • Medical Coding and Billing
  • Data Entry Services
  • Patient Authorization Coordinator
  • DME Billing and Collections Ticket Reviewer
  • Medical Virtual Assistants
  • Programming and Development 
  • Recruitment 
  • Technical Support 
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) 
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Accounting 
  • Fraud Prevention
  • Content Writing Services

In the post-pandemic world, standards for healthcare have never been higher. But how can clinical providers level up their patient care strategies if they deal with various other repetitive tasks? This is where specialty healthcare outsourcing can come in handy.

You can outsource industry-specific functions. In addition, healthcare professionals can lighten the workload of their in-house staff by delegating non-clinical tasks to a BPO.

Healthcare is an industry that may take longer to adopt the four-day workweek since medical providers often deal with time-sensitive, urgent, and even emergency cases. If hospitals and other clinical facilities limit their in-house staff’s work hours, a dedicated offshore team can take over during their off days.

Back Office Solutions for Travel and Hospitality

  • Reservation Database Management
  • Data Entry
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Multilingual Support

Although considered one of the world’s largest economic sectors, travel and hospitality experienced a significant setback at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, as lockdowns ceased and restrictions eased, more people are traveling again, helping revitalize the industry.

Now, as demand for travel skyrockets again, travel and hospitality agencies have their hands full. By outsourcing these back office functions, they can keep up with growing travel volume without overwhelming their core team.

Back Office Solutions for Transportation and Logistics

  • Logistics Data Entry
  • Omnichannel Customer Support
  • Air Waybill Processing
  • Emergency Hotlines and Dispatching Services
  • Freight Audit and Payment
  • Freight Booking Administration
  • Invoice Processing
  • Handling Client Inquiries

As the volatile global supply chain landscape continues, the transportation and logistics sector must increase its agility now more than ever. Luckily, there is a way for transport companies to position themselves for long-term success even amid the Age of Disruption: outsourcing back office operations.

Those are just some of the functions that can help businesses address the logistical challenges in the post-COVID era.

Back-Office Solutions for Consumer Electronics

  • Accounting
  • Fraud Prevention
  • Content Moderation
  • Content Creation
  • Data Entry
  • Claim Processing
  • Supply Chain Management

The consumer electronics industry is constantly evolving, with electronic devices becoming more high-tech and cutting-edge by the day. Electronics companies must continuously navigate a delicate balancing act, nurturing the product development side of the business without neglecting consumers’ ever-changing needs and preferences.

In addition to investing in consumer electronics customer support, those are just some of the back-office functions that these businesses can utilize to their advantage.

Back Office Solutions for E-Commerce

  • Data Entry and Encoding
  • Product Catalog Specialist
  • Inventory Management
  • Website Development and Management
  • Digital Marketing
  • Omnichannel Customer Support

Running an online business can be just as time-consuming as (if not more than) having a traditional brick-and-mortar store. 

By delegating back office tasks to an outsourced provider, e-commerce brands can focus on doing what they do best (selling products that customers want) while improving the overall productivity and efficiency of all other aspects of their business.

Those are just a few of the e-commerce outsourcing solutions that can empower your online brand.

Start Transitioning to a Four-Day Workweek With Back Office Staffing Solutions

Whether your business is already in the process of transitioning to a shorter workweek or you’re still considering the pros and cons, there’s no denying that the nature of the workplace as we know it is changing. 

You can either keep existing traditions and practices (at the expense of potentially alienating new hires amid a tight labor market) or chart a course for innovation while utilizing strategies that minimize risks.

Through outsourcing, you can have the best of both worlds. As your offshore BPO team handles various administrative and support functions, your onshore staff can focus on their core operations and maximize their productivity during the four-day workweek.

SuperStaff is here to help you navigate this challenging transition period. Call us today, and learn more about what our back-office staffing solutions can do for you!

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