Are Four-Day Workweeks Worth It?

Many companies have shifted to full-time remote work or hybrid schedules. The Great Resignation has affected businesses everywhere. What has also come to fruition? The four-day workweek.

A four-day workweek sounds excellent. A day off during the week to run errands, go to appointments, or have a personal day for yourself? It could offer improved quality of work and less stress for both employers and employees.

Four-day workweeks are created to reduce burnout, provide a perfect work-life balance, reduce operating costs, and improve productivity resulting in efficiently-ran companies as a whole. But does it meet all those expectations?

Four-day workweeks without specific guidelines can create confusion in the workplace. Can employees still complete work tasks on their days off? Are they allowed to check and answer emails?

While some employees can be good at setting boundaries between work and personal lives, others may find it difficult, and days off can turn into an actual workday. Statements like “I’ll finish when I get back” or “Someone else can do it” may become increasingly popular throughout the organization. Without a clear understanding of the rules and regulations, chaos and frustration can ensue among employees, negatively affecting the work environment and overall productivity.

In addition, four-day workweeks may cause employees to feel like they have to “catch up” while away on their day off, possibly affecting their work performance and productivity. Possible project delays can occur, leading to adverse outcomes for the entire business. Employees may be unable to fully relax on their days off due to possible stress or anxiety about what they are missing at work or what they will return to when they return to work, resulting in a potential decrease in employee satisfaction.

Although a four-day workweek may seem beneficial to all those involved, employers and employees, many factors can come into play.

First, what defines a “workweek”? Is it 4, 10-hour days?

Organizations must thoroughly plan, research, and implement set standards on a company-wide scale. Logistics of scheduling should also be determined, such as what days employees can take off.

Who will get the first pick? Is it based on seniority or position?

In addition, explicit guidelines must be established regarding working on days off. Are employees allowed to check and reply to emails? Can they finish tasks that might not have been completed the previous day? Management should research further the effects of having days off on employees’ performance and productivity.

Lastly, do four-day workweeks improve employee satisfaction and better work-life balance? Will it restore creativity in the workplace?

Organizations should analyze alternatives to the four-day workweek for increased employee engagement and improved work-life balance. It is important to remember that large-scale shifts within a company require the correct type of support, employees want their feelings to be heard, and a good work environment is necessary for people to embrace change.