To delve into the benefits of a 4-day workweek, we’ve gathered eleven insightful responses from CEOs, founders, and marketing managers. From improving mental well-being and focus to maximizing concentration and balance, these experts share their detailed examples and valuable tips on how a shorter workweek can indeed increase productivity.
- Improves Mental Well-Being and Focus
- Applies Parkinson’s Law to Productivity
- Reduces Non-essential Tasks
- Optimizes Time Allocation
- Eliminates Unnecessary Meetings
- Boosts Creative Industry Productivity
- Allows for Better Recovery
- Encourages Worker Efficiency and Involvement
- Compresses Work for Increased Productivity
- Increases Staff Focus
- Maximizes Concentration and Balance
What Are the Positive Benefits of a 4-Day Workweek?
Tyler Grange, a UK-based environmental consultancy, made the four-day workweek a permanent feature after participating in the 4 Day Week Global trial. According to the firm, the change has been highly beneficial, leading to a 22% rise in productivity, an 88% increase in job applications, a 66% drop in absenteeism, a reduced carbon footprint, and happier, less fatigued employees.
In the following sections, we’ll explore the numerous advantages of a 4-day workweek, offering insights that may just inspire you to rethink the way you work.
1. Improves Mental Well-Being and Focus
A four-day workweek can actually boost productivity by improving mental well-being and focus. When people are less stressed and more rested, they bring a higher level of emotional intelligence to their tasks. They’re more present, make better decisions, and are generally more engaged, producing better quality work.
For example, we adjusted the schedule to a four-day workweek for one employee who was juggling family responsibilities that were causing her stress. The change led to a noticeable improvement in her performance and well-being. She became more focused and started meeting deadlines consistently.
So, if you’re considering this, start by setting clear expectations and reorganizing tasks to fit into the shortened week. Encourage your team to use their extra day for activities that nourish their mental health, whether it’s exercise, spending time with their family, or simply rest.
2. Applies Parkinson’s Law to Productivity
The four-day workweek increases productivity due to several reasons. The main reason is “Parkinson’s Law,” which states, “Work expands to fill the amount of time allocated to it.” Put simply, we work faster when we have less time; it happens naturally.
Other productivity gains come from fewer sick days (employees working a shorter workweek are off less on average), increased intensity (e.g., due to higher job satisfaction), and less time wasted on recruitment and onboarding (staff who work four days tend to stay at a company for a longer tenure).
These productivity gains have been seen across various different-scale pilots during the last few years. In each of these studies, KPIs and revenue remain unchanged, highlighting the productivity gains achieved by working a shorter workweek.
3. Reduces Non-essential Tasks
A shorter workweek compels you to prioritize tasks and manage your time effectively. With fewer work days available, you become more conscious of your time and tend to eliminate or delegate non-essential tasks.
Speaking from personal experience, I have been working a four-day workweek for a month now, and I have never felt better. I have implemented a strategy where each day has a specific theme for the tasks I focus on.
For instance, Mondays serve as the day to catch up on everything, ensuring that loose ends are tied up and follow-ups are completed. Tuesdays are dedicated to client work, Wednesdays are focused on content creation, and Thursdays are allocated to anything related to business development.
By organizing my work into these thematic “buckets,” I no longer worry about missing tasks amidst a busy day. Additionally, I find myself more motivated to complete tasks accordingly because I know there will be something new waiting for me to tackle tomorrow.
4. Optimizes Time Allocation
In my experience, I’ve realized that two days off just don’t cut it for recovering from daily commutes and eight-hour shifts, especially when most of us end up working even more, particularly in salaried roles.
I’ve been following a four-day workweek with slightly longer shifts (nine hours), and it’s been a game-changer. I’ve got more energy and time to handle stuff outside of work. Think of better task management, smarter time allocation, and deciding what really matters. In a week containing 32 hours, every minute becomes more valuable.
We experimented with the four-day workweek and witnessed a shift from reactive to proactive approaches. The extra day off over the weekend facilitated more thoughtful and strategic problem-solving, resulting in well-considered solutions to challenges.
I believe that it’s not about squeezing the same workload into fewer days but rather embracing a more deliberate approach to work that leads to better prioritization, task management, and creative problem-solving.
5. Eliminates Unnecessary Meetings
I work for a company, Coconut Software, that’s been running a four-day workweek for almost two years now.
The biggest increase in productivity that stems from a four-day workweek is how dialed in everyone is on their meeting cadences. Because you lose an entire day of work and all of your internal meetings are compressed into four days, the entire company culture has rallied to ensure that any meetings scheduled are productive and not a waste of time.
I have found that the four-day workweek has almost completely eliminated “meetings that could have been emails,” as everyone is obsessed with maximizing the amount of creative or deep work they can do in four days.
As a result, the amount of meaningful work that is being done across the company has increased as fewer “wasteful” meetings are on the calendar.
6. Boosts Creative Industry Productivity
A four-day workweek boosts productivity in the industry. Employees return more motivated with an extra day off. In our company, it has invigorated the creative team, resulting in higher-quality videos. The compressed week sharpens focus, streamlining production and speeding up project completion.
Reduced absenteeism is another benefit. The long weekend reduces unscheduled leave, ensuring consistent production. In our company, unexpected absences have decreased, improving project reliability.
Successful implementation hinges on open communication, addressing concerns, and clear expectations. Flexibility is essential for customized schedules. Regularly monitor productivity metrics to fine-tune the approach for ongoing gains in productivity and employee satisfaction.
7. Allows for Better Recovery
A 4-day workweek increases productivity by giving employees more time to recover from a busy week. A lot of the time, productivity—as well as other employees’ productivity—drops significantly at the end of the week.
This is largely because there is a lot of work that gets done in the week, but not a lot of time to rest on weekends. Adding that extra day for rest gives employees that little bit of extra time to recover mentally and then get back into the swing of things when the new week starts.
Four-day workweeks are something that has been experimented with at certain companies, and so far, there have been some extremely positive results.
8. Encourages Worker Efficiency and Involvement
A four-day workweek can greatly increase production by encouraging worker efficiency and involvement. When given a condensed timetable, workers frequently become more motivated and focused to do things faster. A four-day workweek, for instance, allowed a software development company to enhance project completion rates by 25% as a result of fewer distractions and more focus.
Setting clear goals and using a flexible time management strategy are crucial for the success of this move. Employers should promote open communication and give teams the authority to efficiently prioritize tasks.
Workflows can be improved by utilizing technology for remote collaboration and task tracking. Organizations can benefit from increased job satisfaction and performance while preserving a healthy work-life balance by adopting a four-day workweek.
Must Read: 8 Easy Ways to Manage Hybrid Teams in 2024
9. Compresses Work for Increased Productivity
Implementing a four-day workweek can have a significant impact on productivity. At our company, we’ve found that putting more work into fewer days makes employees more focused and motivated, which helps them finish tasks more quickly.
For example, when our marketing team spends four days planning a campaign, there are fewer distractions and more work gets done. This method has also helped reduce stress and improve the balance between work and life, which has a positive effect on employee health and creativity.
To get the most out of this setup, we stress how important it is to set clear goals, use good time management skills, and encourage our team to talk to each other openly. By evaluating the effects of the four-day workweek regularly, we can make schedules and workflows more efficient and keep a healthy balance between work and personal life.
10. Increases Staff Focus
A 4-day workweek increases productivity by enhancing staff focus and well-being. For instance, when a tech startup’s staff switched to a 4-day workweek, they discovered they had more time for downtime and personal pursuits.
As a result, morale was raised, and burnout was decreased. Employees approached tasks with greater focus, resulting in higher-quality work. Effective task prioritization, clear communication, and a trial period to evaluate impact are suggested strategies for success.
To optimize the strategy, employee feedback should be regularly obtained. As a result of better mental health, increased task attention, and strategic planning, a 4-day workweek can increase production.
11. Maximizes Concentration and Balance
A 4-day workweek can boost productivity by increasing concentration, reducing fatigue, and enhancing work-life balance. A software development team that I managed, for instance, transitioned to a 4-day workweek experiment.
With a more restrictive schedule, employees maximized their time, minimized distractions, and focused on high-impact tasks. Knowing they would have an extended weekend, their motivation and productivity increased.
By prioritizing tasks and eliminating superfluous meetings, they were able to produce as much, if not more, in a shorter period. Notably, the team reported feeling revitalized and less agitated, which contributed to an increase in morale and sustained productivity.
To ensure the success of this transition, explicit communication, goal alignment, and adaptability were crucial. To maximize productivity and employee happiness, a 4-day workweek involves disciplined time management and intentional task alignment.
Related: 5 Best Work-from-Home Apps of 2024
Disadvantages of a 4-Day Workweek
While the 4-day workweek has been praised for its numerous perks, it’s essential to look at the flip side and consider the potential downsides. Here are some of the challenges:
1. Extended Daily Hours
- Example: To compensate for the missing workday, employees often have to stretch their usual 8-hour workday to 10 hours. This extended schedule can be draining and may not fit well with personal or family obligations.
2. Risk of Burnout
- Example: The condensed workweek might lead some employees to take work home, encroaching on their supposed “free days,” and increasing the risk of burnout.
3. Industry Limitations
- Example: Certain sectors like emergency services, retail, and healthcare need 24/7 availability, making a 4-day workweek unfeasible.
4. Client and Customer Accessibility
- Example: If a business is closed an extra day, it could disappoint or inconvenience customers who expect five-day-a-week availability. For example, a client might be unhappy if they can’t get in touch on a Friday when that was previously an option.
5. Upfront Costs
- Example: Transitioning to a 4-day workweek might require initial investments, such as new software to handle automated customer service on off days.
6. Scheduling Complexities
- Example: If team members are off on different days, aligning schedules for meetings or collaborative projects can become a logistical nightmare, leading to delays and misunderstandings.
7. Limited Time for Skill Development
- Example: With one fewer day at work, opportunities for in-house training and career growth could be reduced, potentially affecting employees’ long-term development.
While the 4-day workweek offers many advantages, these challenges shouldn’t be overlooked when considering a shift to this work model.
How to Implement a 4-Day Workweek?
Switching to a 4-day workweek is a major transition that demands thoughtful planning, open dialogue, and a willingness to adapt. Here’s a customized guide on how to make the move, complete with tailored examples:
Step 1: Assess the Situation
If you’re running a graphic design studio, evaluate your workload, client expectations, and team roles to determine if a shorter workweek is a viable option without sacrificing quality.
Step 2: Get Employee Feedback
As a department head in a software firm, consider hosting a virtual Q&A session or sending out an anonymous questionnaire to understand how your team feels about the idea of a 4-day workweek.
Step 3: Launch a Test Run
If you oversee a call center, you might initiate a 4-day workweek with a single team as a test case, while keeping other teams on the traditional schedule. This allows you to spot any hiccups before a full-scale implementation.
Step 4: Establish Clear Rules
As a nursing home administrator, make it clear that nursing staff will need to cover their weekly hours by working longer shifts on their workdays, ensuring that resident care remains uninterrupted.
Step 5: Equip Your Team
If you manage an online bookstore, consider investing in AI-driven customer service solutions to handle customer inquiries on the day the team is off.
Step 6: Track and Measure
As a lead architect in a design firm, monitor essential metrics like project completion rates, employee morale, and client satisfaction during the trial period.
Step 7: Evaluate and Tweak
If you’re a principal of a school experimenting with a 4-day week, arrange a feedback session with faculty and parents at the end of the term to discuss successes and areas for improvement.
Step 8: Roll It Out
As the proprietor of a chain of cafes, once you’ve successfully tested the 4-day workweek in one location, you can consider extending this schedule to your other outlets.
Step 9: Periodic Check-ins
If you’re the founder of a tech startup, make it a routine to assess the impact of the 4-day workweek every few months, looking at both hard numbers like profits and soft metrics like team morale.
Switching to a 4-day workweek isn’t a one-and-done deal; it’s a dynamic process that may require fine-tuning along the way. However, with meticulous planning and ongoing evaluation, it’s entirely possible to make this modern work arrangement a resounding success.
The concept of a 4-day workweek is far more than a trendy buzzword; it’s a transformative approach that has proven its merits in boosting productivity, enhancing employee well-being, and even contributing to environmental sustainability.
As we’ve seen through real-world examples and insights from successful CEOs and founders, the benefits of this innovative work schedule are both tangible and far-reaching. While the transition may come with its own set of challenges, the rewards—increased productivity, improved work-life balance, and a more engaged workforce—make a compelling case for its adoption.
Whether you’re an employer contemplating a shift in company policy or an employee advocating for change, the evidence suggests that a 4-day workweek could be a win-win solution for all parties involved. It’s time to rethink our traditional notions of productivity and consider how a compressed workweek could revolutionize the way we work, for the better.