Updated: Jul 22
As the pandemic comes to a close, work as we know it is changing with a growing interest in the 4-day workweek concept. This idea has been floating around for years, but the pandemic has highlighted its potential benefits and made it a more viable option for many companies. The UK has even rolled out a trial run of the concept.
Whether or not it is a good idea is something we will be exploring today.
In this article, we'll explore both the benefits and unintended consequences of a four-day workweek & why people are leaning towards this plan now more than ever.
Table of Content:
Benefits of a 4-Day Workweek
Improved Work-Life Balance
One of the biggest benefits of a four-day workweek is improved work-life balance. With an extra day off each week, employees have more time to pursue their hobbies, spend time with family and friends, and take care of their mental and physical health. This can reduce stress levels, improve job satisfaction, and improve overall well-being.
Other people may have the idea of either starting an additional job or a small side gig.
2. Increased Productivity
Contrary to what some may think, a shorter workweek can actually lead to increased productivity. Research from Stanford has shown that employees who work fewer hours are often more focused and productive during their work hours. Additionally, a four-day workweek can encourage employees to prioritize their tasks and work more efficiently, knowing they have less time to complete their work.
3. Positive Impact on the Environment
A shorter workweek can also have a positive impact on the environment. With one less day of commuting, employees can reduce their carbon footprint and save money on transportation costs. Additionally, companies that adopt a four-day workweek may be able to reduce their energy usage and carbon emissions by shutting down their offices for an extra day each week.
We've gone over a fair amount of benefits, & employees who feel fatigued from their jobs may want to lean towards a shorter typical workweek.
But there are others who would disprove a four-day workweek, almost literally because people voluntarily want to work.
Unintended Consequences of a Four-Day Workweek
One potential unintended consequence of a four-day workweek is reduced pay. While some companies may maintain employees' salaries despite working fewer hours, others may reduce pay proportionally to the reduced hours. This could make a four-day workweek unfeasible for some employees who rely on their current income.
While a shorter workweek can reduce stress levels and improve well-being, it can also lead to burnout if employees are expected to complete the same amount of work in fewer hours in a given week. Or worse, who is to say that a typical 8-hour day turns into a 10-hour day?
Employers need to be mindful of this and ensure that employees are not overworked or expected to complete an unreasonable amount of work in a shortened workweek.
3. Increased Workload on Other Employees
A four-day workweek may also result in an increased workload for employees who work five days a week. With fewer colleagues available on certain days, these employees may need to take on additional tasks or responsibilities to ensure the company continues to operate smoothly. This can lead to increased stress and decreased job satisfaction for these employees.
Why People Are Leaning Towards a Four-Day Workweek Now More Than Ever
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to reevaluate their priorities and the way they work. With remote work becoming more common, many people have found that they are able to be just as productive (if not more) working from home. This has led to a growing interest in alternative work arrangements, such as a four-day workweek.
Additionally, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of work-life balance and mental health. Many people have experienced burnout or increased stress levels due to the pandemic, and a four-day workweek could be one way to address these issues.
Finally, the pandemic has also made it clear that we need to take better care of our planet. A shorter workweek could positively impact the environment by reducing commuting and energy usage.
In conclusion, while a four-day workweek is not without its potential drawbacks, it has the potential to improve work-life balance, increase productivity, and have a positive impact on the environment.
We steel manned both the case for & against the four-day workweek. What do you think about this concept?
It would be remiss not to acknowledge that with a four-day workweek, it would be harder for customers to get in contact with businesses. Imagine being at Silicon Valley Bank & instead of working alongside customers to help them get their money back 5 days out of the week, but 4. Yikes.
-Sehgal, K., & Chopra, D. (2019, March 20). Stanford professor: Working this many hours a week is basically pointless. Here’s how to get more done—by doing less. CNBC; CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/20/stanford-study-longer-hours-doesnt-make-you-more-productive-heres-how-to-get-more-done-by-doing-less.html
If you've enjoyed this post consider following me on LinkedIn! Or check out more of my personal work on my other site.