Benefits of the 4 day work week (long version)
Discover the perks of the four-day workweek for businesses, employees, and society. Join us as we explore the future working approach.
The traditional Monday-to-Friday work structure is transforming in today’s dynamic work landscape.
Gaining significant momentum is the groundbreaking concept of the 4-day work week — an alternative arrangement offering numerous benefits for employees and organizations.
Over 300+ companies have made the switch, recognizing its positive impact on their operations and workforce.
Join us as we delve into the remarkable advantages of adopting a 4-day work week, exploring how it can revolutionize our work and improve our lives.
1. Benefits for Businesses
Enhancing Productivity and Maintaining Output
Adopting a four-day workweek may seem counterproductive to those who equate longer hours with increased output. However, numerous studies have shown that reducing the workweek can enhance productivity.
The idea here is based on Parkinson’s Law, which essentially states that work expands to fill the time available for completion. When time is constrained, efficiency improves.
A real-life example comes from Microsoft Japan, where implementing a four-day workweek resulted in an astounding 40% rise in productivity. This evidence showcases that output can remain stable or even increase despite the reduction in working hours.
Reduction in Operational Expenses
Businesses can also experience tangible financial savings from a shorter work week. With one less day of entire operations, companies can see a reduction in utility costs, thereby improving their bottom line.
Moreover, a four-day workweek can allow flexible scheduling and hot-desking, reducing the need for large office spaces. The transition to a four-day workweek also makes companies more attractive to job seekers, reducing recruitment costs.
In fact, after implementing a four-day workweek for its employees, a UK bank witnessed an astounding 500% increase in job applications.
Attracting and Retaining Top Talent
In today’s hyper-competitive job market, a four-day workweek can give companies a competitive edge in talent acquisition and retention.
This working model shows potential employees that the organization values a healthy work-life balance, signaling an empathetic and flexible corporate culture.
A survey by Startups.co.uk reveals that 78% of UK employees are in favor of a four-day working week, with 45% strongly supporting this policy.
Hence, it’s obvious how companies could use the shorter work week as a strategic tool to attract and retain the best talent.
Strengthening Gender Equality
A four-day workweek can also help to bridge the gender gap in the workplace. It offers flexibility that can be especially beneficial for working parents, often women, who still bear the brunt of childcare and domestic work.
Therefore, by creating a more flexible working environment, businesses can foster gender parity and tap into a larger talent pool, as more women are encouraged and able to participate in the workforce.
Employee burnout and related health issues are some of the main reasons for absenteeism in the workplace. So, by allowing employees an extra day to rest and rejuvenate, businesses could see a decrease in absenteeism, resulting in fewer disruptions to workflow and productivity.
In a pilot program, New Zealand’s Perpetual Guardian found that adopting a four-day work week led to a significant reduction (45% to 48%) in employee stress levels, potentially reducing absences related to stress and burnout.
Fostering Diversity and Inclusion
The flexibility of a 4-day workweek could help foster a more inclusive and diverse workplace. Companies can attract a broader range of employees and benefit from diverse perspectives by providing more options for those with childcare responsibilities, elder care commitments, or personal health needs.
Boosting Innovation and Creativity
The extra day off can offer employees the mental space to unwind, relax, and let their minds wander. In addition, this break from the work environment could stimulate creativity and innovation, contributing to improved problem-solving and unique ideas.
Creating Room for Skill Development
A shortened workweek can also give employees more time to engage in professional development, upskilling, or reskilling. This could benefit businesses as employees bring their newly acquired skills and knowledge to the workplace.
2. Benefits for Employees
Job burnout is a critical issue impacting employee well-being and productivity. A shorter work week provides employees additional downtime, potentially mitigating the risk of burnout.
Moreover, by reducing exhaustion and stress, employees can maintain a higher level of engagement and productivity during their working hours.
Promoting Better Sleep and More Exercise
The added leisure time in a four-day workweek can also allow employees to engage in healthier lifestyles, improving their overall well-being.
With an extra day off, employees have more opportunities for exercise and can get a whole night’s sleep more consistently. Both factors can contribute to improved mental health and increased work engagement.
According to a study conducted by Juliet Schor, employees who adopt a 32-hour workweek enjoy an average of 7.58 hours of sleep per night. This represents an increase of nearly one whole hour compared to their sleep duration during traditional 40-hour workweeks.
Enhancing Employee Happiness
Work-life balance is a significant factor influencing employee happiness. By giving employees more control over their time, a 4-day workweek can contribute to improved satisfaction and happiness. Happier employees often perform better, show more loyalty, and are less likely to leave their jobs.
Facilitating a Balanced Work-life Dynamic
The extra day off facilitates a better work-life balance, allowing employees to spend more time with their families, engage in hobbies, and tend to personal matters often challenging to address during a conventional five-day work week.
Supporting Part-time Employees
A shortened work week can benefit part-time employees, often women or students, who juggle work with other primary responsibilities such as caregiving or education. This flexibility can ensure they can contribute effectively without compromising their different roles.
Strengthening Parental Involvement
Parents gain significantly from a 4-day workweek as the extra day could enable increased involvement in their children’s lives, attending school events, and participating in childcare. This, in turn, can improve family relationships and contribute to children’s overall development.
Employees may also have more time to engage in volunteer activities and contribute to their communities with an extra day off work. This could foster a sense of satisfaction and purpose, further improving overall well-being.
3. Societal and Environmental Benefits
Decreasing Traffic Congestion
A four-day work week could help reduce the number of vehicles on the roads during peak hours, easing traffic congestion. With fewer commuting days, there’s potential for improved traffic flow and reduced commuting stress for everyone.
Promoting Environmental Sustainability
By reducing the number of commuting days, businesses contribute to decreased carbon emissions, advancing sustainability goals. Plus, with less office usage, there’s potential for reduced energy consumption, contributing further to a company’s green initiatives.
Research findings revealed that by adopting a four-day workweek by 2025, the UK has the potential to significantly reduce its carbon emissions by over 20%.
Lightening the Load on Healthcare Systems
Reducing work-related stress and associated health issues could alleviate the strain on healthcare systems. Also, with extra time available, preventative healthcare measures may be more accessible, contributing to improved public health.
Supporting Aging Populations
In aging societies, an extra day off can give employees more time to care for elderly family members. This can reduce the demand for elderly care services and support healthier aging populations.
Boosting Local Economies
Local economies could also benefit from the four-day workweek. With extra leisure time, people may be more likely to engage in recreational activities, shopping, and eating out, boosting small businesses and local service providers.
Unlocking the 4-day work week holds the key to a transformative work-life revolution. The evidence is clear: the 4-day work week is not just a dream but a game-changer that empowers individuals and organizations alike.
Following the successful completion of the 4-day week UK pilot program in 2022, 56 companies have embraced a reduced working model, fully recognizing the benefits it brings.
Now, take a moment to explore the companies that have already transitioned to the 4-day work week and are actively reaping the rewards.