POSTED: September 27 2022
advo in the news!

Pros and Cons of the 4 Day Working Week: Should the Four-Day Workweek be Mandated?

advo are delighted to have recently contributed our expert point of view on the four day working week for

It’s easy to see that in recent years the way many of us work has changed. There has been a seismic increase in businesses having their employees work from home, likewise, hybrid workers now rarely visit the office. It would be remiss to think that things are simply going to go back to as they were.

Today, it’s the subject of constant debate as to whether the conventional five-day workweek is an outdated cultural norm. Instead, the alternative four-day working week with a 3-day weekend has garnered a lot of interest among the public. The question being raised is: “Would it be a good idea?”. We’ve collaborated with HR group advo to lay out the pros and cons of such a modern approach.

Pros of the 4-day working week

The four-day workweek functions by either having an employee condense their full-time hours into a four-day period, or, by reducing an employee’s hours to that which represents four days of working time. The potential benefits are as follows:

Increased employee engagement

It’s a natural consequence that if employees don’t feel overworked that they will generally be happier and more motivated day-to-day in the workplace. High stress levels are very common among workers, and if your employees are aware that you actively make an effort to combat it, they will respond with due commitment. Moreover, if they have positive associations with their job then they will be less likely to take days off as a result of both mental and physical health problems. These notions are backed by research which showed that “78% of employees with 4-day weeks are happier and less stressed”.

Increased productivity levels

Initially, it may seem counterintuitive that less hours worked means a drop in productivity. On the contrary, if employees are entitled to a better work-life balance then they will show a greater deal of focus for those relatively limited hours that they are at work. Rather than their hours feeling stretched and exhaustive, they will strive to produce more in a shorter space of time.

Increased talent recruitment and retention

In many industries, the task of attracting and retaining talent for a workforce is becoming ever more competitive. Much of the nation now has a newfound confidence in what terms they can demand of employers. Making shifts less draconian will increase the chances of businesses taking on new hires. By the same token, it will reduce employee turnover by eliminating their desire for another job with added leniency. The previous source also discovered that “63% of businesses found it easier to attract and retain talent with a 4-day week”.

Reduction in environmental impact

As the global warming situation worsens, it’s apparent to everyone that making steps towards change are necessary. Indeed, even businesses are becoming more conscious of this fact. One solution to fulfilling their part is to reduce how often their employees commute. Just by removing one day where transport is needed has a significant effect upon their carbon footprint.

Reduction in costs

The prices of everything are on the rise, it’s for this reason that everyone can appreciate saving some money. If businesses only have their offices open for four days, as opposed to five, then they will save on overhead expenses. For employees and employers alike, this also means reducing expenditure on fuel required to commute.

Cons of the 4-day working week

Although the benefits seem comprehensively convincing, the reality might differ. There are some possible cons to the four-day workweek that you should take into account when considering the policy. Here are some of the standout potential disadvantages:

Decreased customer satisfaction

It’s important to remember how closing on Fridays will affect consumers and users. For instance, government services having limited availability hours might cause people to grow frustrated if they can’t get essential things done. In a similar vein, such a system may drive current customers away because they want a specific degree of accessibility, thereby resulting in revenue losses for businesses. A fundamental overhaul would have to occur for widespread schedule compatibility.

More work for others

Despite productivity increases, the four-day workweek categorically implies hour reduction. It’s a likely consequence that workloads may not always be completed in time. Therefore, others will inevitably have to provide coverage. Likewise, the amount of employees doing overtime could increase, resulting in further company losses that were once trying to be accounted for.

Business model suitability

It isn’t feasible that the whole world stops running on a Friday. That is, it’s impractical for certain business types to adapt to a four-day working week. Institutions like hospitals, various shops, and restaurants aren’t able to routinely shut down operations. This is why, in this context, it’s integral to assess whether or not what some businesses offer are really considered as being essential.

Final Conclusions

So, to address the primary question regarding the 4-day working week, i.e., “Would it be a good idea?”. The answer is, it depends. Evidently, the case for the four-day workweek holds a strong argument, and there are some singular advantages. After all, it’s difficult to argue against a happier and more lucrative workplace alongside higher levels of environmental sustainability.

On the other hand, it’s clear that a 4-day workweek wouldn’t be probable for some companies and service providers. Specific businesses could crash under such a mandate and, for others, protest would invariably ensue. The end of it is this, that a working structure’s suitability determines if the corroborated benefits can be reaped or not.