The four-day workweek is the talk of the corporate world these days.
Companies who’ve instated one rave about them, some big organizations swear they’ll never even try one, and others seem a bit apprehensive about the whole thing.
The benefits of four-day workweeks are similar to that of remote work models. Employees report a better work/life balance, and companies state employees are more productive working four days instead of five.
But like many non-traditional work models, the four-day workweek isn’t perfect.
Discover how to determine if the four-day workweek is right for you — and what to do if it isn’t.
Pros and Cons of the Four-Day Workweek
There’s no “set” way for any company to tackle the four-day workweek. Such a non-traditional work schedule might look one way for one company and completely different for another.
Regardless of what your four-day workweek looks like, we recommend considering the pros and cons of this model before settling on one over the other.
Benefits of a Four-Day Workweek
Yes, we all get why workers may want a four-day workweek. But are their actual benefits for both employees and employers?
It turns out, there are!
Four-day workweeks may offer the following benefits to employers:
- Increased productivity
- Lower business expenses
- Carbon footprint tax breaks
Possible benefits of a four-day workweek for employees include:
- Less stress
- Better work/life balance
- More rested workdays
- Cultivate more joy at work
As it turns out, giving employees that extra day off can lead to more productive workers; the mental health benefits that these workers get from a three-day weekend can bleed over into their professional lives, leading to better mental clarity and creativity on the job.
Disadvantages of a Four-Day Workweek
Of course, the four-day workweek might not be all puppy dog kisses and rainbow smiles.
While we’d all be happy to sign up for “forever three-day weekends”, we do realize there are some costs associated with an extra day off.
Some corporations might not be able to afford to pay their workers for another day off; some workers might not be able to afford to take a hit to their paychecks if not paid for that Friday or Monday off.
This is where the logistics of the four-day workweek come in. Many companies allow employees that extra day off — as long as they make up the hours by working 10-hour shifts instead of the traditional eight-hour workday.
But what does that mean for productivity? Can employees complete all their work in that time period? And are they as productive and effective working 10-hour shifts as they are working eight hours at a time? Will they get burned out from working longer days?
If you’re worried about any of this, you could always try a hybrid model, such as a four-day workweek every other week, at first.
Companies With a Four-Day Workweek
Basecamp offers a four-hour workweek between May and August (a.k.a., summer hours).
It’s not surprising since this project management company’s founder, Jason Fried, wrote the book on remote work, Remote: Office Not Required.
Just because you decide to scale back on hours, doesn’t mean you need to do so year-round. In fact, it makes sense to offer shorter workweeks when employees are taking more time off or during slower seasons.
Trying to break into the tech industry? In 2022, Kickstarter decided to test out a four-day workweek with some employees. TBD on whether that pilot program is set to continue.
But this shows us that it’s OK to experiment with non-traditional work schedules. Even if this version of the four-day workweek doesn’t work out, it doesn’t mean that they can’t find the style that works for them down the road.
threadUP decided to instate a four-day workweek as a way to attract competitive talent.
According to a local report on Kare 11 NBC on the four-day workweek, “More than half of new hires who completed an onboarding interview stated the four-day workweek tipped the scale in their decision to join thredUP. Eighty-eight percent of thredUP’s team stated the four-day workweek was a positive change for the company.”
Questions to Ask Before Instating a Four-Day Workweek
Do you actually want a four-day workweek?
We get it. If you’re asked to work a four-day workweek, there’s a good chance you’ll respond with an emphatic yes before even thinking about it.
But what do you want from a four-day workweek? What would you get from such a work model?
Do you want more freedom? Better work/life balance?
Do you even want to work less anyway? Some people love working long hours if their job is fulfilling, and that’s totally OK. Could you even scale your hours back if you wanted to?
It’s common to feel compelled to latch onto a solution that sounds enticing without doing the work to figure out why you’d want a four-day workweek or what you actually want from one in the first place.
What do four days of work look like?
Will you work longer hours Monday through Thursday or simply get those extra eight hours off, Scott free?
Will you be able to complete your tasks in four days? Or will this new structure stress you out more than the five-day workweek?
Four-Day Workweek Alternatives: Non-Traditional Work Hours
If the four-day workweek isn’t for you, no fears! There are plenty of non-traditional work hour models that might better fit your needs, including:
- Remote work/hybrid work
- 9/80 schedule (compressed work schedule)
- Mandatory time off
- Summer Fridays (half-days or full-days off)
No matter what a non-traditional workweek looks like to you, you’ll want to ask yourself why you’re opting for this model. What do you get out of it? What benefits does it provide?
If you’re struggling to discover the answers to these questions, consider joining a community that can help you figure them out! Join Rise to mull over non-traditional work schedules — and to find a job that’s willing to work with you on your schedule.