Understanding the 4-Day Workweek: Pros and Cons

Many companies are considering changing the standard workday and switching to a 4-day workweek to attract and keep employees. 

This paves the way for some to consider compressed time, which is going from an eight-hour day for five days to 10 hours per day for four days per week. Such change is well-received by many employees, considering they will have more time to spend with their families or some alone time.

Another alternative that many businesses are testing is a four-day work period. There are no additional hours in which removing one day from the workweek. Employees’ pay and benefits are either unchanged or reduced to account for the lower productivity.

Consider the pros and cons before deciding whether the 4-day workweek suits your company.

Advantages of a 4-Day Workweek 

Employees’ answers are probably a straight-up yes, while management might be a definitive no. A 4-day workweek has several benefits for your staff and your company, so it’s essential to consider them before brushing it off for good. 

  • Retention

Reducing burnout and focusing on wellbeing is crucial to keeping employees onboard. A 2020 Gallup survey of over 10,000 employees found that those who worked a 4-day week experienced less job burnout.

Moreover, employees who work a 4-day workweek also reported the highest rates of “thriving wellbeing,” with 63 percent of respondents.

  • Environmental benefits

If you want to lower your company’s carbon footprint, keeping employees off the road and keeping the lights off 20% of the time can be a big help. In addition to reducing energy use for employees commuting to the workplace, keeping them off the road reduces emissions into the atmosphere.

  • Increased productivity

You would assume that a 20% reduction in work hours would result in a 20% decrease in production. A four-day workweek, on the other hand, increased productivity by 40% in 2019, according to Microsoft Japan. Compared to the prior year, they also saved more than 20% on power bills. Moreover, they cut the number of printed pages by roughly 60%.

  • Enticing best talents

In the past five years, the number of jobs that specify a 4-day workweek has increased. The challenges in recruiting following the pandemic might hasten this tendency. Top job candidates are searching for the best opportunity as the battle for talent tightens. The solution can be a condensed or shorter workweek.

  • Minimal downtime  

Business executives reported 62% of sick days being used, according to the same survey. When employees get an extra day off during regular work hours, they can better plan for personal needs. They can attend medical and other appointments on their usual day off without missing work.

  • Encouragement 

Employees may respond well if you switch to a 4-day workweek with shortened or reduced hours. It is viewed like any other benefit, as a tool for the company to assist its employees whether on or off the job. work. These policies are uncommon, which could inspire workers to put more effort or perhaps keep the benefit. 

Disadvantages of a 4 -Day Workweek

There are also drawbacks to implementing a compressed workweek. So before you go all out, check out some ways you'll consider offering such a benefit. 

  • Scheduling 

Internal scheduling issues might arise in addition to addressing customer demands. Impromptu or urgent meetings may be problematic, but planned meetings can be organised during the workweek.

Limited involvement in brainstorming sessions is inevitable, especially if employees are unavailable. The viability of a 4-day workweek may depend on how often they occur within your company.

  • Decreased hours may equate to decreased work 

While productivity has increased in some organisations, your outcomes may differ. Your team's level of dedication and maturity can be a huge factor. 

Moreover, your seasoned employees may push for maintaining or increasing productivity levels as they're aware that they can go back to 5-day workweeks if things don't work out. It might not be how others interpret it. Based on your staff's level of responsibility, you'll need to determine how much leeway you can offer.

Likewise, there might not be a solution that works for everyone. This might be seen as a benefit for staff members who are dependable in delivering results, rather.

  • Coverage

There is a common concern among corporate leaders that there won't be enough coverage for clients and employees. Getting over this might be tricky.  In certain industries, some four-day employees have to take Mondays off, while the other half take Fridays. Thus, giving customers enough service coverage.

Your ability to shorten the workweek can be affected by the necessity to have your team available for clients or to support other team members.

  • Extra stress

Who loves a three-day off? Everyone, of course. Companies often structure a four-day workweek like this. However, keeping such a scheme can be extra stressful during "work" days to ensure your employees don't lose their days off. 

The majority of workers surveyed say having a 4-day work week promotes work/life balance. While it's indeed good news,  if the work part causes additional stress, this alternate scheduling might not be the best option.

  • Additional work for other employees 

Tasks may increase in four-day workweeks. When some employees are not working, managers will spend more time organising meetings, client interactions, and team projects. They will need to pay closer attention to:

  1. Project management 
  2. Performance
  3. Overtime 
  4. Close monitoring of schedules and productivity to ensure the scheme isn’t costing too much.

Key Takeaway 

It's possible that some divisions of your business can change to a 4-day workweek while others cannot. Office workers might have the option, but front-line workers do not unless you choose to shut down the production line and cope with the consequences that follow.

This might cause resentment, which would be a critical problem for your company. If you're thinking about making a change, be sure it will apply to all departments equally. More workers are asking their employers to take shorter work weeks into consideration. Prior to making the adjustment, it will be crucial to weigh all the benefits and drawbacks.

Start a test program before implementing the 4-day workweek, perhaps during the slower months. Then consider only if your organisation, customers, and employees benefited from a 4-day workweek.

RosterElf: Rostering Made Easy 

RosterElf’s cloud-based payroll and rostering software truly is a game-changer. Say goodbye to roster conflicts and chase employees for their availability to work. Instead, employees can easily update their availability to work and notify managers about it through a smartphone app. 

Staff set the times and days they can work, and RosterElf does the rest. Our software then automatically suggests available employees to fill shifts. 

What are you waiting for? Time to take your rostering and payroll game to the next level and boost your business’ performance. Call us now at 1300 353 000, and our team will be more than happy to assist you. 

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