Should Your Employees Be Working 4 Days a Week?

Cloudbooking employees in discussion around a table with laptops

Forty hours, five days a week, Monday to Friday has been the generally accepted workweek for as long as most workers can remember. As the world of work continues to undergo substantial changes, many businesses are starting to trial the four-day working week — the latest challenge to the current work model. Here at Cloudbooking we explore this latest trend and its pros and cons.

The proposed four-day workweek involves working 32 hours a week instead of the generally adopted 40 hours a week while still receiving 100% of your salary. The idea is that this reduction in hours will lead to an increase in employee wellbeing and productivity. This new way of working is being picked up by several large organizations around the world like Microsoft and Shake Shack, with mostly positive results. 

Now, 30 of the largest UK companies are becoming part of an exciting pilot program run by the 4 Day Week campaign. Researchers will investigate whether employees can operate at 100% productivity despite working 20% less time throughout this program. The results could have massive implications throughout the world of work.

What is the 4-day work week?

Most employees would be thrilled at the prospect of a three-day weekend, and thanks to the latest studies into the four-day work week, it could become a reality sooner than later. However, the implementation can vary, with some employers expecting five day’s worth of work to fit into four days, while others reduce the hours without reducing the pay. 

There are many reasons for this push for a four-day workweek. Studies report increased productivity, efficiency, and improved work-life balance. Other reasons include that productivity has increased by as much as 5% annually from 1987 to 2015, while salaries have not grown by more than 2% per year during the same period. That means that workers have been able to do more work in less time but haven’t been compensated fairly — until now. Let’s find out more about the pros and cons of the four-day working week.

Pros of working 4 days a week

Over the years, more and more companies have adopted their own four-day working week strategy. Many companies have found that this new way of working offers up a range of pros that make it worthwhile for the employees and the organization itself. The pros of adopting a four-day working week include:

Work-life balance

Giving employees an extra day outside of work enables them to spend more time with family or doing the things they love. Work stress and long hours can have a hugely negative impact on the health of your workers; therefore, a better work-life balance keeps your workforce healthy and more motivated for work. Companies that have adopted the four-day working week say their employees are 78% happier and 62% healthier.

Increased productivity

Workers who have adequate time to rest and recharge their batteries are more productive at their jobs. When employees work lots of long days, it can lead to burnout which is a productivity killer. Therefore, employees who work four days a week tend to increase their productivity.

Attracting talent

Companies that offer the four-day working week have been found to have a competitive advantage, with these pioneering companies generally receiving 15% more applications over their five-day working week competitors.

Cut your costs and carbon footprint

With employees only working four days a week, companies can save money by cutting costs on electricity and utility usage on those days when the office space is empty. It will also mean a reduction in resources such as paper and custodial services. 

As well as cutting your costs, these reductions in electricity, paper, etc. will also help companies reduce their carbon footprint and meet sustainability goals that are becoming more important to employees, particularly Gen Z-ers entering the workforce.

Cons of working 4 days a week

Although there are many pros to consider when adopting the four-day working week, there are employers who don’t see this way of working as the latest trend to sweep across the world of work, as the likes of hybrid working has. The cons of working four days a week include:

Difficult to implement

First and foremost, changing from a five-day workweek to a four-day working week is a complicated, time-consuming, and expensive process to undertake. Current ways of working and schedules will have to undergo seismic changes, policies and processes will have to be rewritten or created from scratch. Although adopting the four-day working week may well be worthwhile in the long run, the initial set-up can be a significant stumbling block.

It cannot be implemented across every industry

Unfortunately, not every industry is compatible with the four-day working week. Many industries that deal with customers have to be available throughout the week to ensure that customers can get hold of them. One Utah-based study into the four-day workweek was forced to abandon the experiment due to poor customer satisfaction. Customers complained that they could not access government services with offices closed on a Friday. This is also the case for medical professionals who must be on call throughout the entire week.

Deadline pressure increase

For many workers who find themselves with stretched workloads and long days, the idea of completing the same amount of work but in fewer hours is unfeasible. The increased pressure to complete their work in four instead of five days, plus the fact that outside organizations can still carry out work on the days that aren’t worked, would lead to increased pressure and stress for many. 

Final thoughts

Over the last couple of years, the business landscape has changed dramatically. Employees have realized the shifting power dynamic, which puts more power in the hands of the workers, is here to stay. Much like hybrid working, the four-day workweek may well be the next major preference that large workforce populations are looking for from their next employer. In any case, the success of the four-day workweek will rest on trials and pilot schemes that are currently underway around the world. 


Find out how Cloudbooking’s innovative workplace management systems can help you adapt to the ever-changing work environment. Contact us now for a no-obligation product demo


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