The Ultimate Guide to the 4 Day Work Week (2021)

We discuss what a 4 day work week is, it’s history, the different types of implementations, which countries and companies have tried a 4 day work week, the research undertaken, as well as it’s future.

Overview

What is a 4 day work week?

  1. Employees work 4 “normal” days e.g. 4 × 8 hour days = 32 hours
  2. Employees work 5 “shorter” days e.g. 5 × 6 hour days = 30 hours
  3. Employees work 4 “longer” days e.g. 4 × 10 hour days = 40 hours. This is sometimes called a compressed workweek or a “short-hours workweek”.

Are 4 day work week jobs paid at a reduced salary?

  1. One where the salary is the same as a full time position
  2. One where the salary is 80% of a full time position

Definitions

What does 4DWW stand for?

What is a 6 hour work day?

What is a 4/10 work week?

What is a 9/80 work week?

Background, History and Future

Where does the 4 day work week originate from?

Is the Four Day Work Week coming?

Research and Studies

Which countries have tried a 4 day work week?

  • Spain: The government has accepted it’s proposal to pilot a voluntary 4 day work week (32hrs) across the country
  • Iceland: The Reykjavík City Council and Nation Government piloted a study (2,500 employees) which paid the same amount for shorter hours.
  • Japan: the Japanese government says it encourages employers to implement a 4 day work week, in an attempt to improve work-balance of its residents.
  • Ireland: the Irish government is funding research to investigate the potential benefits of a 4 day work week.
  • Scotland: The Scottish government has invested £10 million into a pivot study which will help companies explore the potential pros and cons of a 4 day work week.
  • Germany: Germany’s largest trade union, IG Metall, has agreed wage increase which can either be paid, or used as part of a switch to a four-day week.
  • Australia: The ACT Government is investigating the feasibility of a 4 day work week.
  • Canada: A 4DWW is being trialled in various Towns across Canada.
  • Denmark: A small Danish county recently introduced a 4 day work week (35hrs) for it’s 300 staff.
  • India: The Labour Ministry is considering whether to offer flexibility to companies to have a 4DWW
  • Finland: The newly elected prime minister, Sanna Marin, has proposed that the country adopts a 4 day work week, at a recent panel discussion
  • Gambia: Gambia’s President, Yahya Jammeh, has said it plans making Friday a day of rest to allow people to have more time for prayer and agriculture.

What 4 day work week research has been conducted?

  • Lepinteur (2016) studied European Community Household Panel data from Portugal and France, suggesting “reduced working hours generated significant increases in job & leisure satisfaction of the workers affected in both countries, with the rise in Portugal mainly being explained by greater satisfaction with working hours and working conditions”.
  • Haar et al (2018) studied the 4 day work week of Perceptual Guardian which found that there was no change in job performance. They also studied other factors such as employee stress, work-life balance and employee retention, showing a positive impact across the board.
  • Bird et al (2010) describe the implementation of a 4 day work week as “inevitable”
  • Aagaard et al (1975) surveyed 474 employees in a large company who were working a 38 hour work week. They found that productivity remained constantly, although numbers varied for different demographic groups (e.g. by age and gender)
  • Baltes (1999) studied flexible and compressed work week schedule, where the effects of both were described as “positive” overall

Are 4 day work weeks more productive?

  • Researchers in Iceland found that output remained the same, despite working shorter hours.,
  • Perpetual Guardian, a finance advising company from New Zealand, report that reducing employees’ work schedules to a 4 day work week doesn’t harm their productivity or company output
  • In a recent study, Microsoft found that productivity increased 40% when they transitioned from a five-day workweek to a four-day workweek. Employees reported that they felt less stressed, more refreshed and generally happier
  • Other studies have also shown that absenteeism reduces by over 50%.

Pros and cons of a 4 day work week

  • It’s more difficult to implement in some industries (e.g. healthcare)
  • The world still operates Monday to Friday so it may be more challenging to provide customer support perspective every day
  • There are operational challenges in switching to a 4 day work week (e.g. changing employment contracts, calculating holiday entitlement etc)

Getting a 4 day work week job

Which companies have a 4 day work week?

How can I help progress the 4 day work week movement?

How to find a 4 day work week job?

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Phil from 4 day week

Phil from 4 day week

Founder @ 4dayweek.io - jobs with a better work / life balance.