Would Your Boss Go For a 4-Day Workweek?
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- Nearly all of the 185 employers we asked said they would consider a four-day workweek.
- Fifty-one said: "Yes, but I have reservations about how to make it work."
- More than 100 said: "Yes, because the benefits to employees and employers are clear."
- Twenty-four said: "Yes, because my company is actually already doing it."
After 15 years of running his businesses on a five-day model, OSP International president Cornelius Fichtner recently made a big change and instituted a four-day workweek for most of his employees.
"2020 showed us that work can be more flexible," said Fichtner. "Generally speaking, employees who aren't overworked and are happy with their work regime are much more productive –– so if your industry allows it, why not give it a shot?"
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Fichtner isn't the only one willing to entertain the idea.
Most Employers Are Receptive to the Four-Day Workweek
We asked 185 employers if they would consider shortening the workweek at their own companies. Over 97% said yes.
What the "No" Crowd Thinks
Only five employers said they would not consider instituting a four-day workweek at their companies.
Of those, only one responded to our query with an unqualified "never."
"I once had a well-qualified job applicant ask me about the possibility of a four-day workweek and remote opportunities. That was the end of that applicant. I shredded his application," said general partner Joseph Gutheinz of Gutheinz Law Firm, LLP.
"In America we are blessed with a strong work ethic: You show up to work on time, with the right attitude, you work a full day –– and then some. Then when you go home, you can take stock of the fact that employment makes life worth living. Next to being a lawyer, I am doubly blessed by being a Texan, where this four-day workweek nonsense will never take hold."
Might Create More Stress
Among the rest of the "no" crowd, Gutheinz's hard-line hot take was an outlier.
Anna Lan, CEO and founder of Ubackdrop, worried that losing a workday would actually cause more stress for her employees.
"They would have limited time to complete their work. They would end up bringing their workload home or working longer days, which is not a healthy option for them," she said.
Not Flexible Enough
Other employers said that their company schedules are already so flexible that a mandated four-day workweek would be unnecessarily rigid.
"It's much more important to create an environment that allows employees to decide for themselves what hours they need to work in order to get their tasks done," said Mark Webster, co-founder of Authority Hacker.
What the "Yes, With Reservations" Crowd Thinks
Fifty-one employers said they would be willing to consider moving their companies to a shorter workweek but had some reservations about how to make it work.
Can't Sacrifice Productivity
"I'm willing to consider tweaking the traditional workweek once we see proof that it does not hamper productivity," said Luke Lee, CEO of PalaLeather.com. "Before implementing this change to the organization as a whole, we could consider testing it out on one segment of the company."
Management Becomes More Complex
"Managers may have real difficulties developing new schedules," said Adam Fard, who runs his own UX company. "That could lead to overtime for some employees and increased stress for everyone."
Extensive Research and Planning Required
"Just taking away a day of work but making people work longer hours wouldn't resolve any stress issues," said TravelFreak founder and CEO Jeremy Scott Foster. "The purpose is to create more productive work — not try to fit everything into unrealistic time frames. Change can create chaos if you haven't thought about the functionality."
What the "Yes" Crowd Thinks
The overwhelming majority of respondents were all-in on the growing trend, and many were already thinking about ways to make it a reality for their own employees.
Makes a Company Attractive
"Today, most young people want and expect employers to move to a four-day workweek in the near future. They understand that job satisfaction is about more than salary," noted QuietLight CEO and founder Mark Daoust. "Flexibility from employers will be key. A boss who is open to a four-day workweek will create trust, loyalty, and engagement."
Could Help Diversify
"I think now is a great time reevaluate our workweek structure," said Renee Rosales, founder and CEO of Theara. "There are many employees who would find it beneficial to work outside the confines of the traditional format, such as parents, students, and [neurodivergent folks]. By facilitating a more flexible working week, you could be opening up opportunities to diversify your employees, as well as to better support existing staff."
What the "Already Doing It" Crowd Thinks
Twenty-four employers we heard from are already in the process of implementing some version of the four-day workweek. Despite a few challenges, they all said it's been an overwhelmingly positive change.
"In fact, the efficiency of the four-day workweek has us wondering why five-day workweeks were ever a thing."
— Sudhir Khatwani, Founder, The Money Mongers
Productivity Looks Good
"In the few trials that we've run, we've noted a significant improvement of up to 15% in productivity," said Lucia Jensen, WeLoans CEO.
Job Satisfaction Is Soaring
"Job satisfaction has gone up 37% since implementing the changes, and there have been no negative impacts on productivity. We get the same amount done in less time. It's the ultimate 'work smarter not harder.' With clever use of judgment, I think the four-day workweek will become something we start seeing more of," said Laura Fuentes, operator of Infinity Dish.
Morale Is Up
"We are still in a trial period, but the general consensus is that most people prefer it. I do believe it's improved team morale and overall health," said Carter Seuthe, CEO of Credit Summit. "But it's not without its hitches: We really have to stay on top of meeting bloat. In order for everyone to get their work done, we have to cut out a lot of unnecessary things and get information across as succinctly as possible."
It's More Efficient
"We've been trying a new four-day workweek for two months now," said Sudhir Khatwani, founder of The Money Mongers. "The results have been massive. Not only are the employees more upbeat, they're also more productive and more efficient. In fact, the efficiency of the four-day workweek has us wondering why five-day workweeks were ever a thing."