94% of Job Seekers Want a 4-Day Workweek, But Does It Really Work?

juliet schor

At-home working can make boundaries fuzzy, with many workers reporting putting in more than 40 hours per week. Allotting an extra day off allows employees to save their personal matters for off-time. The idea is to move from the standard 40-hour working week to a 32-hour week, giving employees more time to themselves, more flexibility, and generating more productivity for businesses. In essence, employees work for the same pay, and the same benefits, but for fewer hours.

  • A number of companies worldwide have pulled off a four-day workweek for a year or more, and Japan’s government has recommended it as national policy.
  • It takes a mindset shift to accept these delays, knowing that they are supporting workers’ well-being.
  • As late as 2015, he was publicly praising the compressed week’s benefits, from improved productivity to a more balanced life.
  • They might, for instance, take pleasure in interacting with coworkers or find their work so interesting that they don’t want to spend less time on it.

That could mean family responsibilities, community work, self-fulfillment, etc. An extra day helps employees balance their personal lives with their work. To find the best solutions for raising engagement and productivity levels, learn more about the four-day workweek, get tips for how to implement it, and discover its potential drawbacks. But, for small companies and startups, as well as industries connected to hardened traditions of work culture, means the transition might not be so quick. Gong hybrid and remote saw a substantial bit of resistance and it’s fair to say that a 4-day working week is even more radical.

Increased Productivity

According to Ferriss, the goal of most individuals is not to amass a million dollars but rather to enjoy the luxuries that most of us assume are out of reach for everyone but the wealthy. So, how can one live like a billionaire when they don’t have a million dollars in the bank? Ferriss devoted five years to figuring out the answer to this issue and has now revealed the secret of unbundling work from pay. Therefore, the focus of “The 4-Hour Work Week” is not on finding a better job or reducing expenses; rather, it is on automating your income and freeing up as much time as possible.

As far as suggestions go, I’m not sure I’ve ever come across one so seemingly reasonable in theory, yet so gloriously decadent in practice. If you see her in the street, consider yourself duty-bound to offer a standing ovation while pelting her enthusiastically with red roses. I, personally, can barely type her name into Google without going misty-eyed. The Atlantic recently did a small video piece with Ryan Carson, CEO & founder of the online learning website Treehouse. He or she may be more open to the idea if you ask for a trial period, such as three months.

Criticism and Limitations of the 4-Day Workweek

Plus, changes in the workplace during the pandemic have given rise to questions about the typical workweek and whether or not the traditional five-day schedule is necessary. A survey of over 2,300 full-time employees found that 94 percent of workers would enjoy a 4-day workweek model, and 85 percent think it’s logistically possible for them. That was in 1920, and allowed him to run his factories 24 hours a day. According to OECD statistics, in 2020 Germany had the lowest average annual working hours of any major industrialized country, at 1,332. The average American worker puts in 1,767 hours per year , while the average Canadian worker puts in 1,664 hours . The United Kingdom, Spain, and Japan are all trying out four-day workweeks, and all three have significantly shorter workweeks than the traditional five.


However, it hasn’t worked out for everyone, as was the case for Treehouse, an online education company based in Oregon. Ryan Carson, founder and CEO of the company, implemented two radical ideas for his company, getting rid of the boss and reducing the workweek to four days. For many reasons, the concept of a four-day workweek is not appealing to everyone.

To grow your company and make millions, start working four days a week

This method involves setting clear goals and deadlines for each task and organizing them in order of priority. Having clear goals helps your people prioritize where and how they work so they can focus on critical, urgent tasks rather than low-priority ones. Educating staff members on work prioritization, deadline setting, and the dangers of multitasking can boost output and efficiency. Employee time management can also be aided by providing tools and resources to streamline workflow, such as time-tracking and project management software. Of course, you should also monitor and evaluate your employees and be sensitive to their needs. Some employees may take to the new setup quickly, while others prefer more traditional arrangements.

When it comes to attracting talent, the firm noted a 300% increase in new job applications, a 35% reduction in turnover and a 4% decrease in stress burnout and anxiety. When asked if they would go back to the standard 5-day mode, the vast majority of workers flagged they’d need at least 30% more pay to do it. The 4-day working week has been hailed by many as the future of employee productivity.

The company implemented a compressed work schedule where employees worked four days a week and had three days off. Elephant Insurance reported improved employee morale, increased productivity, and higher retention rates after implementing the four-day workweek. The Lab Saigon, a digital agency based in Vietnam, adopted a four-day workweek in 2015.

In 2013 with the four-day workweek philosophy he gave employees at his previous company, Carsonified, in 2006. His wife and business partner, Gillian, suggested nixing Fridays, since the reason they started their own business was to enjoy a better quality of life. This has been backed up by data and real-world experiments, with a number of companies giving the four-day workweek a try. Gallup found that for employee engagement, the quality of the work experience was more important than the number of days worked. Simply shortening the workweek is not enough to improve employee engagement in a poorly managed organization.


Wildbit unearned revenue that their employees were more focused and motivated, resulting in increased productivity and higher job satisfaction despite working only 32 hours a week instead of 40. The 4-day workweek is when employees work four days per week for their full-time pay and benefits. In the typical model, they are working 80 percent of the time, but are expected to complete 100 percent of the work that would have been handled during a five-day schedule. The idea is to give workers more personal time to promote better work-life balance, which will also drive motivation and productivity during working hours.

Exempt employees are employees who don’t receive overtime pay and don’t qualify for minimum wage. A shorter workweek may have environmental benefits from reduced commuting and traffic congestion. Depending on the company and the industry, everyone might work Monday through Thursday and have Fridays off. Other possibilities include allowing each employee to choose their extra day off or having a company-wide policy of a different third day off, such as Monday or Wednesday. Emphasizing results instead of hours logged means that there’s no need to cut pay or benefits. If your in-between hours are more than the hours calculated in Step 2, choose a later start time or an earlier cutoff time.

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Regardless of what type of worker you are, we put together templates to help you structure your workday. These templates are meant to help you plan your day in a way that works for you. At some point, if you want to consistently get your shit done and still have a ton of free time, fix the schedule you want. Estimate the amount of hours of your work outside your obligations. Until your in-between hours match your hours calculated in Step 2. Set a schedule that provides you the ideal balance of work and relaxation.

The four-day workweek may be a new setup or unfamiliar environment to some, but its benefits are undeniable. There may be some challenges as your company transitions, but finding out what works best for everyone will be worthwhile. Another valuable point is that your employees will feel cared for by the company and its owners. This feeling is crucial — no worker wants to stay in an organization that aims to use and burn out its people. A company’s workers are its most valuable assets, so caring for them is critical.

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Treehouse went through layoffs, and they felt it was unfair to lay off 22 people and still let everyone else take Fridays off. And if this perk was keeping people from doing their best work, Treehouse had no choice but to fix it. It’s not like he’s forcing everyone to work 60 hours; he’s just admitting his perks didn’t work. Carson told The Atlantic that a four-day workweek combined with a hands-off management approach is attractive enough that he’s able to hire some of the top talent big tech companies vie for. The reduction in hours didn’t come from shorter workweek, but instead from mandated leave time and more vacation. However, by 2007, Americans were working on average almost 200 hours more per year than three decades earlier.

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