Pros And Cons Of A Four-Day Workweek (Definition And Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There are many flexible working options for professionals to explore when searching for a job or seeking to make changes at their place of employment. One of these options is a four-day workweek. If you are interested in working fewer days per week without losing the benefits of working a full-time position, you may want to learn more about this work schedule. In this article, we explain what a four-day workweek is, list the pros and cons of this schedule and share tips to help you succeed when following this employment model.

What Is A Four-Day Workweek?

A four-day workweek is a type of employment schedule in which full-time employees work four days of the week instead of the traditional five. Typically, this schedule involves employees working from Monday through Thursday. This newer work schedule type is becoming popular in some countries and workplaces. A four-day work schedule differs from a compressed work schedule, which is when employees work the same amount of hours over a shorter number of work days. For example, they may work 10-hour shifts for four days.

Those who follow a four-day work schedule work fewer hours ultimately, as their shifts do not extend to accommodate for the additional day off.

Related: 12 Simple Ways To Save Time And Accomplish More Daily

Pros Of Working Four Days Per Week

Adopting this type of work schedule is often beneficial to both companies and professionals. If you are considering seeking a job that offers a four-day working schedule or wants to establish this work practice at your place of employment, it is helpful to consider the advantages it can offer. Here is a list of pros this work schedule type may allow:

Increased productivity

In many cases, working fewer days per week can improve employee productivity while they are working. This may be because they feel more engaged in their work. It is also less likely that an employee may procrastinate on their tasks when they have fewer days to complete them. Increasing employee productivity can help the company reach its goals while empowering professionals to feel proud of their work and motivated by their progress.

Another reason why this schedule can increase productivity is that employees may feel more energised at work. Working five or more days per week can prompt professionals to feel tired and have difficulty focusing on tasks. With fewer work days, professionals are more likely to be well-rested and ready to focus on their work duties.

Related: 10 Tips For Working Effectively And Improving Productivity

Workplace diversity

Having a four-day working schedule can make the workplace more accessible. This is because professionals who may not commit to a regular five-day work week due to a disability or other commitment can find more employment options. When professionals from different backgrounds and abilities can find employment that meets their needs, the workplace can enjoy more diversity.

This practice also can help professionals who have children, as they can save money on childcare tasks. Those who have routine doctor visits or other commitments can schedule their appointments on their day off so they can attend work more often as well.

Related: What Is A Diverse Workplace? (Definition And Benefits)

Employee satisfaction

Having a shorter work week can lead to higher employee satisfaction. This could be for a variety of reasons, as four-day weeks can offer many benefits. When employees feel more satisfied with their job placement, it can improve their productivity and workplace morale. This is important for employers, especially because professionals who enjoy their job are more likely to recommend the company to others, which can help with the company's talent recruitment methods.

Employee satisfaction can also lead to higher quality work. This is because professionals who care about their job and enjoy it may feel more motivated to complete their duties using the best possible practices. This ensures a higher quality result.

Related: What Is Recruitment in HR? (With Types, Process and Tips)

Employee retention

Employee retention refers to the rate at which professionals stay at the same company. Since hiring practices can be expensive for companies, many organisations aim for high employee retention rates. Companies that offer four-day working schedules may experience higher employee retention rates because of the other benefits the schedule type offers. Since professionals who follow this schedule type are often more satisfied with their job placement, they are likely to stay with the company.

Related: What Is Employee Retention? (And How To Increase It)

Work-life balance

One of the main pros of this work schedule type is that allows employees to enjoy a better work-life balance. When working five days a week and completing between 35 and 40 work hours, it may be more difficult to participate in non-work activities. A four-day work schedule allows professionals more time to spend with loved ones and can encourage them to follow healthier practices. Since these professionals have more free time, they may partake in healthy activities, such as seeking mental health advice, exercising and pursuing their hobbies.

Having a positive work-life balance can also allow professionals to adopt a better attitude about their work, as they can return to their jobs well-rested. This can help employees remain productive and enthusiastic while working.

Related: How To Handle Pressure From Work (With Practical Tips)

Heightened employee engagement

Those who work four days a week may feel more engaged in their work. This is because these employees follow stricter daily schedules to ensure they complete their tasks each week. Professionals who follow this work schedule allow may need less time away from work, as they already have three days off per week. Since they can use their additional free time to relax and practice healthy habits, they also may use fewer sick days.

Higher employee engagement can often allow companies to meet their goals more quickly. It can also encourage the professionals within the organisation to build a healthier workplace culture. Employees who are engaged in their work are also more likely to make contributions to the company that improve it, improving the quality of the workplace.

Related: Culture Fit Interview Questions (With Tips To Answer Them)

Environmentally friendly

This work schedule can allow companies to follow more environmentally practices and reduce their carbon footprint. This is especially true for in-person workplaces. When professionals spend fewer days in the office, this can reduce the number of paper products they use weekly. It also reduces the amount of garbage they produce. Both factors can help companies use fewer resources and follow green working practices.

Also, working four days per week decreases the number of times a professional commutes to work. This is helpful to the environment, as most vehicles produce emissions that can harm the environment.

Related: 7 Environmentally Friendly Business Ideas (With Benefits)

Cons Of Working Four Days Per Week

Though there are many pros to this work schedule, it may not be effective for all companies or preferable to every employee. Before deciding to switch to a four-day work schedule, it is important to consider the potential disadvantages this employment type can cause. Here are a few cons regarding a four-day week you might consider:

Customer satisfaction

In customer-facing companies, adopting this work schedule may affect the level of customer satisfaction consumers award the company. Since employees may only be in the office for four days, customers may feel that they do not have enough access to the company, which can prohibit them from solving problems. It is important for organisations to prioritise customer satisfaction, as excellent customer service can help improve the company's sales and reputation.

Companies that want to implement this schedule type can manage this and maintain high customer satisfaction levels by investing in more technology. Artificial intelligence, such as chatbots, and task automation, can help companies address consumer concerns without interaction from an employee. This can empower customers to use company resources to resolve issues. For example, with the help of a chatbot and task automation, a customer may process their own return.

Difficult implementation

Some companies may have difficulty managing a four-day working week because of its implementation. If managers feel that adopting this work schedule is a challenge, they make seek help from other professionals and research training opportunities. Employees who have issues with adjusting to the new schedule might consider seeking their supervisor's guidance.

Tips For Using This Work Schedule

Consider following these tips when trying to implement and use a four-day work schedule:

  • Plan your tasks. Organising a to-do list and managing the tasks you plan to complete on a daily and weekly basis can help you schedule your day and optimise productivity.

  • Set time limits for work. You may also benefit from establishing a time-based schedule in which you complete tasks. For example, you may allot a specific amount of time for responding to emails each day to ensure you follow your daily schedule and finish all of your tasks.

  • Automate repetitive tasks. Identify the repetitive tasks you complete daily and find a way to automate them. This can help you reallocate your time to complete more important and challenging tasks.

  • Make plans for your day off. Making plans for your day off can help motivate you to finish your work tasks at a more efficient rate. It can also ensure that you do not use the fifth day of your week to complete additional work, which helps you maintain a better work-life balance.

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