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The Pros and Cons of the Four Day Work Week

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More organizations are moving away from a traditional nine-to-five in-person work environment. Hybrid and flexible hours have gained considerable attention in recent years. Another option for making in-roads into professional culture is a four day work week.

Like other emerging work models, the four day work week is generally welcomed by employees and resisted by leadership. Many organizations that have piloted a four day work week only to transition to it full-time after finding that workers reacted positively and maintained or increased their productivity.

Whether you are a government agency or a private enterprise, a shortened work week may be suitable for your organization. First, consider these pros and cons of the four day work week.


The Pros


Below are the advantages that organizations have gained in adopting a four day work week system.

Increased Productivity

It is fair to be concerned that employees would produce less with fewer days to work. Surprisingly, many organizations see sustained or increased productivity with a curtailed work week.

Boosted Motivation

Part of the reason productivity remains consistent or accelerates is due to heightened employee motivation. The four day model is largely regarded by employees as a benefit, which they are motivated to retain. Additionally, a shorter work week is largely viewed as a way an organization supports its staff by promoting employee wellness and reducing stress.


Reduced Downtime

Organizations report that employees take fewer personal and sick days with a four day work week. The extra day off each week allows employees to schedule medical appointments, make time for wellness needs, and attend to personal commitments without taking time away from the job.


Cost Savings

An abridged work week equates to a cost savings for the employer and employee. Many companies report reduced facilities and utilities costs. Employees save money by spending less on commuting, childcare and food, in addition to the savings associated with taking less time off of work.


Attracting Talent

The COVID pandemic forced organizations to redesign their work environments to be more flexible. Employees now expect this flexibility from a potential employer. Peruse job listings today and you are bound to see many boasting a four day work week. With a tight labour market part of the “new normal,” top candidates are looking for jobs with benefits, including a shortened work week.


Retaining Talent

Just as a four day work week can attract talent, it can also retain it. The benefits to employees are numerous:

  • Reduced stress

  • Cost savings

  • An extra personal day a week

  • More time for family, friends, hobbies and weekend get-a-ways

  • Feeling supported by a company

What’s more, polling finds that employees with the lowest levels of burnout worked a four day work week.


The Cons


To be sure, the positives tend to outweigh the negatives when weighing the pros and cons of the four day work week. Here are some drawbacks to be wary of when shifting to fewer working days.


Reduced Productivity

Productivity can be one of the pros and cons of the four day work week. Most companies will reap productivity increases, or at least productivity consistency; still, other organizations can see it fall. The biggest contributing factor is the maturity and commitment of team members.


Inadequate Coverage

Some organizations should or must be open to the public or to clients for a set number of hours or days a week. Providing adequate coverage may require altering days off for segments of the workforce, such as some groups taking Monday off and another group getting Friday off.


Asymmetrical Implementation

Some parts of your organization may not have the option for a four day work week, but other parts will. For instance, workers on a production line or at a construction site will not easily be able to transition to a four day work week, but office workers can. This can build resentment within the workforce.


Increased Overtime Costs

Hourly workers can put an organization at risk of spending more on overtime. This can easily happen if the employee needs to work on their designated day off. It can also occur if your locality has laws designating overtime beyond certain hours per shift (rather than overtime being triggered by a weekly hourly total). Managers will need to be careful with scheduling to restrain overtime costs.

Getting the Most Out of Your Team


To learn more about methods to boost your team’s productivity and to train your staff up on the latest efficiency best practices, reach out to Priority Management today.

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