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Table Of Contents

Here’s Why A 4 Day Work Week Is The Future

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Table Of Contents

It’s safe to say that the 9-5 lifestyle is dead. 

With the rise of remote work and it becoming more common, many people are quickly realizing that they can get more tasks done in less time.

Due to the pandemic, millions of Americans are now enjoying flexible work  — and when it is finally over, they will want more, not less, freedom. A 32-hour or 4 day work week can offer them the new normal that they’re looking for.

What exactly is it?

A 4 day work week means that your normal working hours are reduced to 32 hour weeks instead of the usual 40 hours. And as an added bonus, your pay stays the same. By doing so, you will accomplish more work in less time and will also have time to do the things you enjoy outside of the office.

Although this very much sounds like a wild dream, it could soon be your reality. 

Governments and businesses in countries such as Iceland, New Zealand, Spain, and Japan have experimented with a four-day work week and have reported excellent results. Pilot studies have reported a 25% to 40% increase in productivity, as well as a better work/life balance, fewer sick days used, more time available to parents and children, less money spent on childcare, and a more flexible work schedule that improves employee morale. Scotland has been testing this same work style too — and unsurprisingly, it has also produced great results.

Although a 4 day work week sounds radical, the number of hours worked in a typical workweek has gradually decreased since the late 19th century. According to the United States government, a full-time worker in a manufacturing plant worked on average 100 hours each week in 1890. The mid-20th century saw manufacturing employees working only 40 hours a week. Hence, reducing our work week to 32 hours isn’t as radical as it sounds.

How companies are dealing with this change

What if you could take every other Friday off and still be successful at your work? That is exactly what some companies are doing.

An increasing number of companies now provide staff with the flexibility of having a 4 day work week or are instead preparing to pilot this model. Your employer can choose if they want you to work four 10-hour days or keep the standard 8-hour days in a week. A 4 day work week ensures a more reasonable balance between days off (three days off) and days on (four working days) than the conventional 5:2 ratio.

Furthermore, this working model is good for the environment too. A study by the campaign group 4 Day Week and environmental advocacy organization Platform London says implementing a four-day working week could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21.3% by 2025.

The pros and cons

Like everything else in life, a 4 day work week has both benefits and drawbacks. Its key advantages include:

Better work/life balance

As expected, implementing a 4 day work week leads to a better work/life balance for employees. When employees spend fewer days either in the office or working from home, they get an additional day to do other things in their lives, whether that’s taking care of personal and family responsibilities or enjoying some much-needed leisure time.

Increased productivity

It seems counterintuitive, we know. 

But multiple studies have shown that working less often leads to greater productivity. These effects could backfire if long, 10-hour days result in fatigue and mistakes. But since this workweek allows three days for employees to rest and recharge, it creates fresher, more rested employees who feel better and can accomplish more during their 4 days at work.

Reduced burnout and stress

Instituting a 4 day work week allows employees to recover from burnout and reduces their stress levels. It has been proven to increase morale and productivity by reducing stress and burnout levels. Additionally, it also allows employees to live happier and more fulfilling life.

The main potential drawback of a 4 day work week is mostly financial. Despite your employees working fewer hours, their productivity generally increases or remains the same. So in short, this working model won’t be as cost-effective as you think it may be.

Is adopting it a good idea?

2 years ago, no one believed that remote work would become the new norm. However, looking at how quickly the world has adapted to working from home, a 4 day work week doesn’t seem too unreasonable. As our world’s priorities shift from constantly working to placing an emphasis on leisure time and free time, this work model might be exactly what we’re all looking for.

Seeing as to so many countries have already experimented with this model and have found major success with it, we are confident a 4 day work week will be a part of our daily routines soon. And when it does, you can come back to this post and we’ll tell you I told you so!

Snigdha Gupta
Snigdha Gupta

An avid writer and aspiring marketer, Snigdha is a student at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business.

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