An occasional three-day weekend is cause for excitement for most people. What if this occasional occurrence became the norm? Would it propel business productivity, or would things take a turn for the worse? As more countries including Belgium, Iceland, Japan, and the UK begin to trial a 4-day work week, here are some pros and cons for making the change:
Pros of a 4-Day Work Week:
- Lower costs: A four-day working week means lower costs for employers since the office will be closed for an additional day every week. Employees benefit from transportation and commuting costs, in addition to other expenses like coffee, meals, etc. consumed at work versus at home.
- Increased employee satisfaction: Having more time off means employees will potentially have more leisure time that they can spend on the things that they enjoy and time with family. In recent studies of 4-day work week trials, employees show over 90% satisfaction with the new arrangement, and employers found productivity remained the same or increased due to the change.
- A reduction in health problems: Providing additional time away from the office can reduce stress and mental health issues, as 1 in 6 people experience mental health concerns. One study revealed that 37% companies in the UK had witnessed a rise in absences caused by stress, during the pandemic. Providing more time away allows employees to focus on family, friends, and activities that improve their mental health.
- Improved productivity: Shorter work weeks have not led to less productivity – quite the opposite. Companies have seen a rise in productivity by providing a better work-life balance. Over 78% of their employees reported more positive work-life balance – compared to 54% with a five-day week.
Cons of a 4-Day Work Week:
- Not suitable for all business models: Unfortunately, the four-day model is not adaptable for all types of businesses, including retail or restaurants. Changing the way a company works is never easy, so companies need to evaluate if the 4-day work week is the right choice for business operations.
- All employees within the same company may not be able to take advantage of the 4-day work week: If you have employees in certain roles that are not suitable for a 4-day work schedule, it could potentially cause issues for certain departments within the organization, including a perception of unfairness or inequality.
- Longer working hours: Employees working four days a week may not be able to keep working 8 hours per day. Some companies are offering 4-day work weeks with 10 hours per day instead. Longer working days can impact employees who have to balance.
As more countries roll out 4-day work weeks, we will see companies evolve to offer employees new benefits and flexible work arrangements. There will be an evolution as more companies implement different work structures and look to improve their employees mental and physical health, overall wellbeing, and productivity.