Switching to a 4-Day Workweek? Some Considerations for Employers

As many companies are struggling to attract talent, they are considering the reduction of a standard 5-day workweek to a 4-day workweek. This article highlights some considerations in that analysis.

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The idea and experimentation of a four-day workweek in the United States has been commonly discussed since the 1990s, and given the COVID-19 pandemic and increase of working from home and hybrid office implementation, the discussion of a four-day workweek is picking up even greater traction. Here, we review some high level considerations for any employer considering the switch.

Employer Benefits of a Four-Day Workweek

Not only can employees improve their quality of life, but employers can benefit as well with the reduction of a five-day workweek through:

  • Increased sales
  • Reduced employee burnout and improved employee retention
  • Lower operating costs for an office
  • Larger applicant pool for all positions
  • Environmental benefits from reduced commuting and traffic congestion

Challenges Relating to a Four-Day Workweek

The change from 40-hour workweeks to 32-hour workweeks could lead to decreased pay and benefits.

10-hour workdays can be incompatible with wage regulations or prove too grueling for employees in some states.

The allowance of four-day workweeks is highly industry specific. For example, hospital employees, fire departments, and police officers taking 3 days off with no coverage seem impracticable. Also, there is a limit on how many items Amazon Warehouse employees can pick per hour and how many delivery locations a UPS driver can hit in a day, therefore possibly making four-day workweeks less efficient.

Strategies Successful Companies Implemented With a Four-Day Workweek

  • Prioritize and reevaluate tasks
  • Increase automation
  • Emphasize human creativity
  • Limit work-based social events
  • Reduce and shorten meetings
  • Set goals that are achievable within a shorter workweek
  • Measure outcomes, not hours
  • Implement asynchronous work
  • Maintain employee pay
  • Solicit regular employee feedback