What Is a Four-Day Workweek?

Photo by Damir Kopezhanov on Unsplash

The average full-time employee in the USA works eight hours a day, five days a week. With a four-day workweek, the employee would still work the same 40 hours per week but divided into four working days of 10 hours each. However, there are different models to adapt the company to a four-day workweek. For example, some companies might implement a four-day workweek while keeping the same eight hours shift per day, reducing the working hours per week to 32.

According to Erin L. Kelly, MIT Sloan Professor of WorkandOrganizationStudies; “Four-day workweeks are appealing because so many professional and managerial workers feel they are working intensely and too long, but it is often unclear how to take control of their time.” Therefore, the main purpose behind the idea of a four-day workweek is to help employees find a better work-life balance, while the company keeps functioning as it should.

Several companies have implemented a four-day workweek in the past. This was the case of a service firm in New Zealand called Perpetual Guardian, which in 2018, implemented a four-day workweek for a two-month trial. As a result, the company saw lower stress level and higher job satisfaction from employees while observing an uptick in productivity. The trial was such a success that the company decided to permanently adopt what some call the “100-80-100” system: 100% pay, 80% work hours and 100% productivity.

However, it wasn’t until last fall when Microsoft announced the implementation of a four-day workweek in Japan that the term became a highlight. The announcement made by Microsoft, one of the world’s biggest technology companies, brought to life (once again) the argument that a shortened workweek is beneficial for both workers and the company. Microsoft stated that after requiring workers to take off every Friday, the productivity of the Japanese offices increased by 40 percent.  

Now that you understand a bit more about the four-day workweek, are you willing to implement this system within your company? Or still not convinced? Of course, there are several factors to take into consideration before making the switch. In our next post we will talk about pros and cons of this system and tips that will help you find the right balance with your employees. 

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