Should Your Business Consider a 4-Day Work Week?

by | Mar 16, 2023 | HR Trends

The pandemic has had far-reaching influences on many aspects of our lives, including the workplace. Not only have more employees experienced working from home, but also the 4-day work week. Employers are now finding it somewhat challenging to reverse course and have employees return onsite 5-days a week. Researcher, Juliet Schor, economist, and sociologist at Boston College, investigated how employees would ultimately accept a 4-day work week. Her research revealed the 4-day work week was positively received by employees. What’s more, the consensus from these polled employees was a reduction in work-related stress and a greater productivity. The following are possible justifications for employers to rethink shortening the work week:1


Improved Sleep

Fatigue impacts productivity. One study showed a loss of up to $1,967 per worker, per year due to fatigue. A pooled analysis of US workers discovered 38% said they are routinely fatigued at the workplace. Contrast this with the 4-day a week employee where 45% of them said they were less fatigued during a 4-day a week schedule versus 5-day. 2


Help Older Workers Transition to Retirement

Older employees commonly switch to part time due to decrease lack of stamina while wanting to remain full-time because of income and benefits. A 4-day work week potentially extends the longevity of the older, greatly valued employee. 3


Increased Productivity

Tuesday through Thursday is the most productive time during a typical five-day work week. Many companies in the four-day workweek trial in Britain said they saw no loss in productivity during the experiment. 4


Healthier Work-life Balance

Companies are discovering the potential benefits of a work-life balance. Additional time away from the workplace may contribute to greater productivity at the worksite due to increased employee appreciation for additional time for personal needs, like family, health needs and other individual responsibilities. One extra day away from the worksite may translate into compound productivity beyond that day of absence.


Less Burnout & Stress

Pilot programs implementing 4-day work weeks were initiated in 61 businesses in the United Kingdom in 2022. Of particular interest, these 61 businesses cumulatively had a 65% decrease in sick days and personal days, and the employees reported less burnout and stress.3 The extra day off allows regenerating, so they don’t burn out during the work week. Not only can this increase revenue, but it also attracts and maintain talent. 4