You may have even considered making this change yourself. But what's it like in practice? The pros and cons of working four days instead of five could make all the difference between a successful change or one that just leaves you feeling exhausted and frustrated.
Could your business move to a 4 day working week?
Advantages of a 4 Day Working Week
It's cheaper for everyone
Job satisfaction increases
When people are happier, they are more productive.
This is a simple concept, but it's worth stating that the inverse is also true: when people are unhappy and unproductive, their work suffers. The same can be said for creativity and innovation—the more motivated we feel about our jobs, the more likely we are to try new things that make us better at our jobs.
One study showed that after only three months on a four-day schedule, employees were less stressed than before they switched over. This is because the additional non-working day allowed the freedom to invest in other personal interests like spending time with family and friends, exercise or hobbies—activities that have been shown time and again to reduce stress levels and improve overall mental health.
Disadvantages of a 4 Day Working Week
It's harder to get into a routine
Assuming that you're going to take this new schedule seriously and try to make it work, there are a couple of things you'll need to do in order to succeed:
You might not get as much flexibility
Working four days a week might sound appealing, but the reality is that it may not give you the flexibility you were hoping for. Your work may not be more manageable or easier to fit into your life; instead, it will just be different. And if you're one of those people who works from home or otherwise has flexible hours, then working to a more strict schedule for the four days might actually make things harder for you.
If something comes up in your personal life—a doctor's appointment, family gathering or other obligation—then working one day less per week will give you fewer opportunities to work from home and make up the hours later on in the month.
Although a 4 day week means you are working less hours your workload may have not decreased to reflect this and so you may feel the added pressure of needing to increase your overall hourly work output.
A 4 day week can be good for your lifestyle and your business
If you work a 9 to 5 job, then you’re probably spending half of your waking hours at work. That means that if you want to do anything else with the other half of your day, such as spend time with friends and family, it will probably have to be squeezed in around your working hours.
The 4-day working week has been hailed as one way of reducing the number of hours we all spend chained to our desks. If implemented properly, this could mean that we have more free time on offer after work so we can spend more time doing what matters most: spending time with our families and friends and pursuing hobbies.
Moving to a four day working week is a big decision and it's not right for every business. But if you're looking to improve employee retention, job satisfaction and productivity, then it could be something worth considering.