Pros and Cons of a Four-Day Work Week

There has been a lot of buzz regarding the move to a four-day work week. Several companies in the UK did a pilot program in collaboration with the non-profit organization, 4 Day Week Global, and the results were largely in favor of moving towards a shortened week. The four-day week global initiative calls for the 100-80-100 rule. This means that employees still get 100% of the pay working 80% of the time while keeping productivity at 100%. We decided to round up the pro’s and con’s for this move.  


The study in the UK found that companies are shifting to mainly measuring productivity based on results as opposed to hours worked. It was found that employees were able to remain productive and improve profits while working 32 hours a week. Studies show that people are more motivated to get all their work done if there is a good enough incentive. In this case, that is working one fewer day a week. Evidence shows this improves focus and–here’s that word again–productivity. Employees were by and large happier, less burnt out, less stressed with work and had higher rates of job satisfaction. While all of these shifts sound exciting and maybe like a no brainer, there are several cons involved with the move to a four-day work week. 


Many people involved in a separate study found that it was hard to create boundaries when the five-day work week is so ingrained. Employees in this study were often tempted to do small tasks on their day off despite it not being required. For many, they felt like they were playing catch up and felt like they needed to overcompensate for their missing day. Additionally, tasks that needed to get done or protocols that needed to be followed slipped through the cracks because employees were rushing to get everything done in a short amount of time. For some employees, the four-day work week actually created more stress. 


If you take anything away from this post, take this: a four-day work week is not a one size fits all. Yes, it works for some companies and thousands of employees are happier with this approach. Despite that success rate, others don’t find it helpful or beneficial at all. There needs to be several factors taken into account when piloting a four-day work week such as industry, client needs and communication amongst employees. If the four-day work week works for your company then that’s amazing! If not, then that is perfectly fine too.