Traditional describes the 9-5, Monday to Friday work week many live today. According to HR Technologist, the modern 9-5, eight hour work day was invented by American Labor unions in the 1800’s and went mainstream by Henry Ford in the 1920’s. Here we are today, following the same pattern set a century ago. This begs the question, is this the best way?  

Would the benefits of a 4 day work week outweigh for employees outweigh those of our 9-5, Monday to Friday adopted lifestyle? Let’s explore. 

The Statistics: 

  • Microsoft tested a four-day work week with their program in Japan called “Work Life Choice Challenge,” and found that productivity jumped 40% (EBN).
  • New Zealand found that with working four days a week, employees were actually 20% more productive and showed a 24% improvement in their work-life-balance and a 7% decrease in their stress levels (CNBC). 
  • Work-related stress plagues 83% of employees, according to data from the American Institute of Stress. Stressed out employees are less effective at work and struggle with mental health issues like depression and anxiety (EBN HealthCare).

The Pros/ Benefits: 

Allowing more time for personal matters, a 4-day work week may boost productivity and output in the workplace. With better work-life balance, employees may be more satisfied with their positions and less likely to leave, creating higher retention. Coming to work fully prepared and well rested, employees may be more motivated to tackle daily and weekly tasks with full devotion. 

If some employees took Mondays off and some took Fridays off it would provide 50 open business hours for client and customer contact, possibly generating more revenue for the employer. 

The Cons / Realities: 

Is this enough time? In keeping a 40 hour work week, this would entail 10 hour days. This may cause employees to burn out mid week working such long hours. On top of this, a 4 day work week could become inconvenient to clients and customers who are trying to reach your business in a smaller window of time. Also, there could be additional costs related to keeping the business open longer hours.

Everyone loves a long 3 day weekend, but could this be our every weekend reality? Although we have been accustomed to Monday – Friday, a 4-day work week may be a great option for the future in motivating employees and balancing a lifestyle that creates more overall satisfaction. What are your thoughts on a 4 day work week for employees?