A Closer Look at the Four Day Workweek Debate

Published on
Mar 22, 2024
Performance reviews without docs, spreadsheets, or forms
See how WorkStory can streamline performance reviews for your team

The idea of a four day workweek has been gaining traction in recent years, with many companies and countries exploring the potential benefits and drawbacks.

On one hand, proponents argue that a shorter workweek can lead to increased employee satisfaction and well-being, improved work-life balance, and increased productivity. On the other hand, critics worry about potential loss of productivity and coordination issues with employees on different schedules.

The Pros of a Four Day Workweek

Increased Employee Satisfaction and Well-being

One of the main arguments in favor of a four day workweek is that it can lead to happier employees. With an extra day off each week, employees have more time to pursue hobbies and interests, spend time with family and friends, and take care of personal responsibilities. This can lead to lower stress levels and improved mental health.

A four day workweek can also improve work-life balance for employees. With a shorter workweek, employees have more time to devote to other areas of their lives, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and a better overall quality of life.

Increased Productivity

Some proponents argue that a four day workweek can actually lead to increased productivity. With an extra day off each week, employees may be more refreshed and motivated when they return to work, which can result in higher levels of focus and productivity, potentially enabling them to get as much work done in four days as they can in five days.

Potential Cost Savings for Companies

A four day workweek could theoretically lead to cost savings for companies. With employees working fewer days, companies may be able to reduce overhead costs, such as energy and office expenses.

Studies such as the one conducted by the University of Auckland in New Zealand, which found that a four-day workweek improved employee satisfaction and provided them with better work-life balance.

The Cons of a Four Day Workweek

Possible Loss of Productivity

One of the main criticisms of a four day workweek is that it may lead to a loss of productivity. With an extra day off each week, employees may be less motivated to complete tasks and may require more time to catch up on work when they return. Conversely, the New Zealand study also found that in some instances productivity rose because employees were trying to get five days worth of work done in four days - to the detriment of their mental well-being.

Potential for Increased Absenteeism

Critics of a four day workweek also worry that it may lead to increased absenteeism, as employees may be more inclined to take off an extra day each week.

Citing Studies and ArticlesStudies such as the one conducted by the University of Utah which found that a four-day workweek resulted in a 20% decrease in productivity.

Companies That Have Implemented a Four Day Workweek

Several companies have already implemented a four day workweek and have seen positive results. For example, Microsoft Japan implemented a four day workweek in 2019 and saw a 40% increase in productivity, while the New Zealand company Perpetual Guardian saw a 20% improvement in work-life balance among employees. Interestingly, the New Zealand study also found that in some instances productivity rose because employees were trying to get five days worth of work done in four days - to the detriment of their mental well-being.

Perhaps a Four Day Workweek Isn't The Only Option

The debate surrounding a four day workweek is ongoing, and there are valid arguments on both sides. The case studies and research suggest that a four day workweek gives and takes. You can improve employee satisfaction but perhaps at a cost of productivity. As the Harvard Business Review article, "The Case for the 6-Hour Workday", suggests, perhaps shortening the business day is an option worth considering. Whichever way you lean on the debate, it's important to consider the specific needs and goals of your company and communicating these with your team before making a decision.

Write a review.
Right now, for free.

Hop into our editor to write your review, with the help of our AI tools, before exporting it as a PDF.

Start Writing

Latest Posts

View all articles

WorkStory Performance Review Process Webinar

Our Cofounder and CEO, Matt, will guide you through WorkStory to show you:
The key features that make the WorkStory platform different from others; it's like nothing you've seen before
How to set up your review process quickly, including customizing your questions, setting up goals, and the review relationships for your team
How companies are using WorkStory's "One-Click" review process to transform and scale their performance reviews so that team members can develop their skills throughout the year

Book Your Free Demo

Thank you, your submission has been received!
Want to save some time and schedule the meeting now?
Select a Date & Time
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.