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The 4-Day Workweek: What it Means for your Business

Author: Annique Ray

Published date: 2022/04

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The four-day workweek is a hot topic of conversation for many in the business world, with the post-pandemic climate calling for a review to our normal office settings.

As we see businesses adapt to the post-pandemic world, the discussion around reducing time spent at work has become a focal point. Whilst many are evaluating if their physical office is even worthwhile anymore, others have moved to hybrid working arrangements. Countries like New Zealand, Spain and America are adopting shorter working weeks, and some governments are even incentivising businesses to do so.

Have you been wondering what this style of work could look like for you or your business? There’s many reported advantages and disadvantages amongst the debate. We’ve done our research and found reasons for and against it.


Increased Productivity

Across the world, different models of the shorter workweek have reported a 20-40% increase in productivity amongst their workplaces. Microsoft Japan, who saw 40% increase of productivity when they dropped Fridays for a six-week period, attributed this to staff focusing on work for longer periods during work hours, and less time on personal tasks. If staff have more time to attend to personal matters outside of work, they’re less likely to be tempted to sort them during work hours.

Fewer Distractions in the Workday

With staff knowing they need to complete their normal workload in less time, they commit to a more structured approach to their workload. Businesses with a shorter week model have seen shorter meetings scheduled, an increase in written communications and the removal of personal tasks. When Andrew Barnes, the co-founder of 4 Day Week Global, introduced a four-day week trial at Perpetual Guardian, he saw staff spend 35% less time on non-work-related websites and distractions.

Increase in Staff Wellbeing & Health

It goes without saying that the pandemic brought about a change in values and priorities in many staff across the globe. With many of the corporate world seeking career and lifestyles changes post pandemic, mental, and physical wellbeing is a core driver in many people’s lives now. A four-day workweek supports staff in achieving their optimal mental and physical health. People have reported that with more time to look after themselves, rest or to spend time with family they’ve truly found real ‘work life balance.’


The Cost

There’s no denying that paying someone for four days of work, at the same cost of a five-day week can seem daunting to any finance department. Businesses will need to really assess the cost and output of employees if they were to introduce a shorter working week. Trial periods would be required by a business to really determine if the move could work positively for them.

Could be a Stressor for Some Staff

Whilst the idea of a four-day workweek sounds nice to most people, many factors could impact on whether it’s a positive experience for all. A shorter week may feel threatening to some staff to complete all their required tasks. A shift would be required to encourage better planning and prioritisation of tasks and time to avoid the shorter week becoming a stressor to employees.

It Won't Work for all Industries or Businesses

Whilst the corporate world may be able to move to a four-day week, it may be harder for other businesses to do so. Some services or industries may risk the loss of clients or customers if they reduce their availability, and many businesses won’t take that risk. To combat this, some businesses have taken a split team approach, where two teams work a different schedule to ensure there’s a cross over and all five working days are operating. For example, Team A works: Monday – Thursday and Team B works: Tuesday – Friday.

Whilst the shorter workweek continues to gain traction throughout the business world, there are many dependent factors as to whether your business moves towards the model. However, there’s no denying the reports of improved employee satisfaction and wellbeing and increased business productivity.

This blog was written by our Operations and Communications Manager, Annique Ray. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.