Is a Four-Day Workweek Right for Your Business?

Posted by Ryan Howard on Mar 31, 2023 2:56:17 PM

Is a Four-Day Workweek Right for Your Business

The results are in. After a 6-month trial of over 60 companies in the United Kingdom, nearly every company in the pilot study has chosen to continue a four-day workweek. Company revenue stayed roughly the same during the trial but showed a 35% increase compared to similar periods in previous years. Most importantly, employee turnover was reduced by 57% with reports of improved well-being, better work-life balance, and reduced stress.

Looking closer, is a four-day workweek right for your growing business?


The Basics of the 4-Day Workweek

The general gist of the 4-day workweek model is that employees can get 100 percent of their work done in 32 hours instead of 40 but receive the same salary.  Several companies have experimented with the idea finding that it increases the number of job candidates and employee retention. 

The 4-day workweek isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Even in the pilot study, each company had the option to choose from a policy that suited their particular industry.

Some of these included:

  • Shutting down operations for one day per week out of a normal 5-day workweek

  • Alternating days off among two teams, again with regular 5-day coverage

  • Different company departments chose patterns that worked for their teams (perhaps combining the aforementioned models)

  • Averaging a 32-hour workweek over a year (longer hours some parts of the year/shorter hours other times)

  • Performance was monitored to measure targeted goals before gaining a day off out of 5 days

What types of businesses benefit from 4-Day Workweeks?

Within the pilot study, some companies had to abandon the experiment because it simply didn't work for them. Some needed employee coverage Monday-Friday and were already running at a reduced headcount. Having a day off increased the amount of stress felt by employees the rest of the week. Customer-facing businesses that are monitored with specific KPIs, such as contact centers, also had difficulty working within the trial. That meant that other employees not in the contact center could take 4-day workweeks, but others could not.

The types of businesses that are adopting or benefiting from a 4-day workweek include:

  • Marketing agencies or digital companies

  • SaaS companies

  • Software or technology companies

  • Nonprofits

  • Smaller companies

  • Independent contractors and freelancers

Businesses that have the flexibility, cross-training available for employees, and customer service options such as chat or remote technology, are better suited for adopting the four-day workweek. Within larger organizations, it's likely that some departments may offer it rather than the company at large. Startups and smaller companies may also adopt the model since they can be more nimble.

Will you be adopting the 4-Day workweek?

If the four-day workweek will fit your business model, is there something you need to do to prepare? In the pilot, the participating companies took two months to analyze how the trial would work for them. During that time, they participated in workshops and mentoring from other companies that had already adopted the model. It's important to understand the efforts required to increase efficiencies where they are currently lacking. Policies must be written or re-written to clarify what model will work within your company. And it likely makes sense to try a pilot before rolling it out company-wide. A successful rollout tends to benefit both employees and employers - improving productivity and increasing well-being. Good luck!

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Topics: Best Practices, Entrepreneurs