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    July 8, 2024

    The Pros and Cons of a 4-Day Workweek

    The modern workforce is constantly evolving, and one of the most intriguing developments in recent years is the concept of the 4-day workweek. Initially proposed as a means to boost productivity and employee satisfaction, the idea has garnered significant attention from businesses and employees alike. But is it truly feasible for most companies? While the benefits are appealing, the widespread adoption of this model may not be as close as it seems.

    The Benefits of a 4-Day Workweek

    Increased Productivity

    According to an article by the World Economic Forum, research showed that one of the most surprising benefits of a 4-day workweek is increased productivity. This aligns with a national survey from CNBC/Generation Lab, which found that an overwhelming 81% of 18 to 34-year-old respondents believe a four-day workweek would boost their company’s productivity. In comparison, 19% said productivity would decline. Employees tend to be more focused and motivated after an extra day off. This concentrated effort often leads to higher quality work being completed in a shorter period.

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    Enhanced Employee Satisfaction

    The same article highlights that employee satisfaction tends to skyrocket with a 4-day workweek. The extra day off gives employees more time to rest, pursue personal interests, and spend time with family and friends. This improved work-life balance can lead to happier, more engaged employees who are less likely to experience burnout. According to the article from the World Economic Forum, more than 9 out of 10 employees who participated in the reported study responded positively, saying they wanted to continue the 4-day work week.

    Good for the Planet

    A study in the UK found that a 10% reduction in hours led to an 8.6% drop in carbon emissions and a 21% drop in car miles traveled. Although climate benefits are challenging to measure, one of the lead researchers on this case, Juliet Schor, argues that a shorter working week is key to vital to the carbon emissions reduction the world needs.

    Real-World Success Stories

    Bjorn Reynolds, founder and CEO of workforce management company Safeguard Global, shared the outcomes of his company’s recent four-day workweek trial with HR Brew. The company found that employees were not only happier but also more productive. The trial revealed that a shorter workweek could substantially improve employee morale and overall efficiency, although depending on the industry, the results may vary.

    The Drawbacks of a 4-Day Workweek

    Consumer Demand

    Despite the potential benefits, the HR Brew article also outlines several challenges. One of the most significant is aligning with consumer schedules. Many businesses operate on a 5-day cycle, and customers expect services to be available during traditional working hours. A 4-day workweek could decrease customer satisfaction for companies heavily reliant on customer interaction.

    Employee Burnout

    Another potential drawback is the risk of employee burnout. Compressing the same amount of work into four days can lead to longer hours and increased stress, counteracting the benefits a shorter workweek aims to provide. While some employees may thrive under this model, others may find the intensified workload overwhelming.

    Industry-Specific Challenges

    Certain industries face unique challenges when considering a 4-day workweek. For instance, healthcare and public services require continuous operations, making it difficult to implement a shorter workweek without compromising service quality. Similarly, small businesses might struggle with the financial implications, such as increased overtime costs and the need for additional staffing.

    Hypothesis and Future Consideration

    Given the mixed results from real-world trials and the inherent challenges, it seems premature to advocate for a widespread shift to a 4-day workweek. While increased productivity and employee satisfaction benefits are compelling, the practical limitations and industry-specific hurdles cannot be ignored.

    However, a more flexible approach to working hours warrants further exploration. Hybrid models, where employees can choose between a 4-day or 5-day workweek, could offer a balanced solution. Flexibility in working hours might also accommodate various business needs while still providing employees with the benefits of a shorter workweek.


    The idea of a 4-day workweek is intriguing and promising, offering numerous benefits that could revolutionize the modern workplace. However, the challenges highlighted in both articles suggest that a one-size-fits-all approach is not feasible now.

    As businesses continue experimenting with and refining their working models, it is crucial to consider both the potential advantages and drawbacks. Ongoing research and trials will be essential in determining whether the 4-day workweek can become a practical and sustainable option for a broader range of industries and employees.

    For now, the key takeaway is the importance of flexibility and adaptation. By staying open to new ideas and continuously evaluating what works best for both employees and consumers, businesses can strive to create a work environment that fosters growth, satisfaction, and success.

    Interested in learning more about optimizing workplace efficiency? Book a call to chat with a consultant today..



    Drew Fortin

    Drew is a people-first, values-driven leader with nearly 20 years of growth strategy and team-building experience across retail, marketing technology, local media, and HR tech. He spent 7 years at The Predictive Index, where he was Chief Growth Officer responsible for the company's strategy to build the world's first...

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