Is a Four-Day Work Week the Right Fit for You? What You Need to Know

Mandy Rice
Published Dec 24, 2023



More and more companies are giving employees the chance to utilize a four-day work week rather than the standard five-day schedule. Is this a good option for you? Here is a look at the details of this type of schedule and its advantages and disadvantages.
 

Understanding the Four-Day Work Week



A four-day workweek is self-explanatory. During this type of work arrangement, workers are only required to work four days per week rather than the widely accepted five days. The amount of total hours worked over the course of a week can vary between companies. While some organizations will require that you still put in 40 hours per week, working 10 hours for each of the four days, other companies will only require that you work 32 hours per week. Although the total salary may reflect the fewer hours worked in some industries, the premise of a four-day week is that you still enjoy full benefits.

There are also differences in what day you can choose to use as your flex time. Fridays are the accepted day off across most companies, however, some employers allow the worker to choose the day that they want to take. For example, some working parents may choose to take Wednesday off if this is a day that their child gets out of school early.
 

Advantages of a Four-Day Work Week



Not surprisingly, employees report numerous advantages of a four-day work week. Worker productivity has been shown to increase when working fewer hours. It is easier to focus and deliver a greater work output when well rested. This type of schedule typically results in a greater engagement and innovation across the board.

Employees who work only four days per week also report a greater satisfaction with their personal work-life balance. Having that extra day off each week leads to less burnout and more motivation to work hard. This is especially true for working parents who can use that extra day for personal errands and other tasks that give them more time to spend with their children. Happier employees are also less likely to look for work elsewhere, benefiting employers in the long run.

Employers also benefit from this arrangement by seeing fewer expenses. If everyone is working the same four days, organizations can cut janitorial services, electricity and other utility costs, and more. This can result in up to a 20% savings on many expenditures. In addition, greater employee satisfaction translates to companies being able to retain their best talent. This will result in savings in the category of employee replacement.
 

Disadvantages of a Four-Day Work Week



Despite all of the advantages of a four-day work week, there are also some drawbacks that need to be addressed. For instance, some workers that scale back to four days per week often report feeling more stressed. This is particularly true if the total number of hours worked drops from 40 to 32 while the employer expects the same amount of work output. The compressed schedule leaves some people feeling overly stressed as they try to meet deadlines. For this reason, it is important that the worker and the manager get on the same page about workload expectations prior to transitioning to this type of schedule.

Organizations that adopt this work schedule also run the risk of attracting the type of employees who are not willing to put in the hard work required to make it work. Instead, you may find yourself hiring workers who chose this position thinking that they could get away with simply doing the bare minimum of work.

Lastly, not all jobs are conducive to a four-day work week. This type of arrangement is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Some employees who cannot take advantage of the schedule may feel resentful of those in the organization that are able to utilize the flexibility.

One of the lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is that companies are more willing to be flexible with schedules. The pandemic has shown employers that their workers are typically happier and more productive if they can take ownership of their work day. This is yet another reason why experts believe more and more organizations will adopt the four-day work week lifestyle.

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