The Four Day Working Week - Pros & Cons

03 Nov 2022 By Michael Piper
The Four Day Working Week - Pros & Cons

There are many claiming that a 4 day working week can help reduce costs, reduce staff sickness, stress levels and burnout, increase staff engagement, support the attraction of a better talent pool and increase productivity!

But is all that glitters really gold?

However, a four day week won’t suit every business model and even be possible for every employee type within an organisation. In reality, many will work 4 long days to ensure targets are still achieved but longer days could have a significant effect on your employees' stress levels and therefore their overall wellbeing and productivity. Whilst the theory is that more time away from work benefits an employee’s work life balance, by working extra hard during their new ‘working week’, they may find that their work-life balance actually takes a hit.

There are considerations for organisations that require desks covered for 5 or even 7 days to ensure clients can contact staff, continuity of service if different people are looking after the same clients which could then result in differing service levels and even missed sales opportunities. There really are pros and cons to this topic…


  • Increased productivity — A recent study by Warwick Business School found that people are more productive when they work fewer hours than when they work longer hours.
  • An Equal Workplace — Roughly two million British people are not currently in employment due to childcare responsibilities and 89% of these people are women. A 4 day work week would promote an equal workplace as employees would be able to spend more time with their families and better juggle care and work commitments.
  • A smaller carbon footprint — Shortening our working week means that employees don’t need to commute as much and large office buildings are only in use four days a week.


  • Customer Satisfaction — The Utah study closed due to poor customer satisfaction. Customers complained that they were unable to access government services with offices closed on a Friday.
  • Wrong Approach — Many confused the concept of a 4 day work week with compressed hours. Employees who are expected to still work 35 hours, but across 4 days will actually show decreased levels of productivity and it can also impact employees’ engagement, work-life balance and overall happiness.
  • Team Management — Managers sometimes find that managing multiple teams on a four-day work week can be challenging as the days employees take off are scattered, making it hard to set up team meetings and manage projects.

Some interesting statistics

  • New research by Henley Business School reports that companies that adopted a four-day week found that over three quarters of staff (78%) were happier, less stressed (70%) and took fewer days off ill (62%).
  • Over 60% of businesses in trials have found it easier to attract staff.
  • A trial in New Zealand found over 75% of employees were better able to manage their home and work life compared to 55% before
  • Expenses can be significantly reduced, for companies having a day less to open the office and for staff to reduce commuting and lunch costs.

So, what do you think? Will the condensed days become so jam packed with meetings leaving little time to be productive? Will management of diaries become impossible? Are you an employer wanting to be ahead of the curve, retain and attract staff, improve employee well-being but are concerned about productivity? Are you an employee that likes the idea but have questions about how full-on the 4 days will be, will there be an impact on your holiday allowance, and will you be able to achieve the same income?

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