The Pros and Cons of a 4-Day Workweek

Author Mae Baars

Posted Feb 28, 2023

Reads 9.8K

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In the past couple of years, there have been seismic shifts in the way companies view work motivations and desires. As a result, many are turning to innovative methods to retain top talent. One such approach is implementing a four-day workweek. It's no surprise that this concept has gained widespread popularity among employees, as it allows them to enjoy a better work-life balance, while still being productive. In this article, we'll explore the top pros and cons of a 4-day workweek.

The four-day workweek has gained traction for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most significant benefit is that it provides employees with an extra day off each week to focus on personal pursuits or spend quality time with family and friends. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and a greater sense of well-being, which can translate into improved performance at work. Additionally, studies have shown that having three consecutive days off can help reduce stress levels and boost productivity when employees return to work on Monday. All of these factors make the 4-day workweek seem like an attractive option for both employers and employees alike.

How a 4-Day Workweek Can Benefit Your Career and Lifestyle

The pandemic changed the way business owners think about managing employees. Required quick pivots and flexibility led to innovative decision-making, but also many experienced burnout in the previous 90 days. Enter remote working and hybrid working - the perfect time for four-day workweeks to shine. Unlike the standard four-day workweek setup, the true four-day workweek meaning employees work approximately 32 hours instead of 40 hours split across four days.

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By implementing this working setup, companies and employees can crush burnout, promote balance, and keep employees happy and productive. In fact, evidence points to just that. A brand-new pilot program tested by over 70 British companies ranging from large financial institutions to small consulting firms revealed that a four-day week could be beneficial for both employers and workers. Gathering valuable data on how this setup works will only improve its implementation in other industries.

If you're feeling overworked, underpaid or both, it may be time to consider a four-day work week. Instead of working five eight-hour days or even ten-hour days spread out over two weeks, a shorter schedule could benefit your bottom line as well as your life outside of work. By shifting your focus from quantity to quality with fewer hours worked each day, you may find yourself more productive during those hours - which could lead to new opportunities for growth within your career without sacrificing much-needed relaxation time.

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Transform Your Thinking: The First Step to Success

Psychological research suggests that objective, easily quantifiable success metrics such as hours worked do not always correspond with qualitative metrics like employees' commitment levels or actual productivity. This is where the four-day workweek comes in. Successful leaders know that prioritizing work-life balance and a healthier work-life balance for employees can lead to increased commitment levels and productivity. Companies can benefit from reduced-work initiatives by explicitly framing them as a companywide policy or optional projects.

In addition to leaders making this critical mindset shift, it's important to acknowledge the mistake we've made in the past as managers. Falling into decision inertia helps us avoid real problem-solving and closed-door conversations that ultimately create room for growth and culture strengthening. By openly acknowledging employees' needs for a better work-life balance, it sets the stage for more open communication between management and staff.

The four-day workweek means accepting that people won't be working 40 hours a week, but rather 32 hours with an extra day off each week. This creates more opportunities for rest, relaxation, and time spent with family and friends. When employees aren't worried about missing out on these important aspects of their lives, their commitment levels soar, leading to increased productivity and overall job satisfaction. The reduced-work initiative can bring about positive change in companies if put into practice with an open mind and willingness to adapt.

[ Step 6 ] Scale Up — but Don’t Stop Iterating

Once you've evaluated the initial pilot results, it's time to scale up. But it's important not to get overly focused on the mere urgency effect of the four-day workweek. To maintain employee-led working sessions and ensure people don't slip into old habits, workplace culture must remain focused on experimentation and iteration. Keep track of success metrics and overcome ongoing challenges as they arise.

The company Charlotte worked for rewarded sales teams based on deals closed, but began prioritizing smaller accounts over larger strategically important ones. As a result, the company reorganized its sales teams with dedicated small and large account specialists who were given equal resources. The company also began experimenting with working schedules specifically for sales teams, rewarding those who fit work into a four-day week significantly impacting job satisfaction.

The leadership team restructured existing teams and created temporary contracts for full-time employees during rush periods. This reduced work hours policy allowed for constant experimentation leading to a successful long-term rollout of the four-day workweek. Monthly meetings were scheduled to discuss long-term strategic plans helping to keep priorities aligned with existing incentive structures while still remaining open to iteration and change through focus groups and feedback from employees.

1. . . .

The workplace norms have fundamentally shifted, and the pandemic has only accelerated this change. Half of today's workforce is experiencing a liminal period where they're questioning their priorities and seeking more balance between work and personal life. This is an opportunity for leaders to easily embrace models like the four-day workweek that can help employees achieve better mental health and well-being.

Long inflexible hours exacerbate burnout, which is why the four-day workweek is gaining popularity among high-salary jobs. By working fewer but more productive hours, employees can focus on what matters most and recharge during their off days. Leaders who prioritize employee well-being not only benefit from happier and healthier employees but also increased productivity and retention rates. To learn more about how the four-day workweek can transform your workplace, be sure to buy copies of our latest study!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the pros and cons of a four-day week?

A four-day workweek can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction for employees, while reducing costs for employers. However, it may also result in longer work hours per day and difficulty coordinating schedules with clients or customers.

Is a 4 day work week a good idea?

Yes, a 4 day work week can be a good idea as it has been proven to increase employee productivity, job satisfaction, and work-life balance while reducing stress and absenteeism. However, its implementation depends on the industry and the company's specific needs and goals.

What are the advantages of a 4 day work week?

A 4 day work week can lead to increased productivity, improved work-life balance, and reduced stress levels.

Why a 4 day work week can boost productivity?

A 4 day work week can boost productivity because it allows employees to have more time for rest and leisure, leading to better focus and motivation when they return to work. Additionally, it can reduce burnout and improve work-life balance, resulting in happier and more engaged employees.

What companies offer 4 day work week?

Some companies that offer a 4 day work week include Microsoft Japan, Shake Shack, and Basecamp.

Mae Baars

Mae Baars

Writer at Inside Business

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Mae Baars is a passionate writer and blogger who has a knack for storytelling. She started writing at a young age and has never looked back since then. Mae's writing style is characterized by its ability to touch hearts, inspire minds, and provoke thoughts.

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