A four-day work-week calendar

The 4 Day Work Week Pros and Cons

6 min read | Apr 15, 2024
 Marta Gongos- Ad Culture By Marta Gongos

Many Canadian employers have switched from the traditional five day work week to a four day work week since 2023. This news has employees cheering as three days off means more rest and reduced stress levels—but is it right for your business? 

In this article, we’ll help you determine if moving to a shortened work week makes sense for your business. Research shows most employees appreciate this structure. Will this new business model fit your company’s current structure? 

What Is a 4 Day Work Week? 

A four day work week means four working days with three days off—a shorter version of the conventional five day work week with two days off. Instead of working 40 hours weekly, employees must accomplish the same tasks within 32 hours without a change in benefits and pay. 

This new working model began in 2022 when a non-profit organization called 4 Day Week Global launched a worldwide pilot program. Some countries that participated in the test included Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Ireland. 

After 12 months, key findings showed positive results. Employees noted having higher self-rated physical and mental health and work-life balance satisfaction scores. The participating companies reported a rating of nine out of 10. 

Benefits of a 4 Day Work Week 

The trial’s positive feedback left employers worldwide considering shifting to the business model. Below we discuss some benefits to consider.

Better Work Life Balance 

With three days off, most employees in the pilot managed a greater balance between their work lives and home lives. With an extended weekend, employees can use the time for personal matters. This can be exploring hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or managing mental and physical wellness. 

There’d also be more time to complete chores, run errands, fix home issues, and schedule important appointments. The possibilities are endless based on the employee’s lifestyle. Another important piece to note is that, with this structure, employees will likely use fewer sick days.

→ Read more: Here’s How You Can Cultivate Company Culture

A mom receiving a hug from her daughter while working from home

Image Source: Canva

Increased Employee Productivity 

Research shows a flexible work schedule and fewer working hours are linked with higher employee productivity. With a shortened work week, workers can return to the workplace with more energy and clearer heads to accomplish tasks and feel greater job satisfaction. 

Higher Work Motivation 

A 4 day work week offers a three day weekend or a longer time off. This employee perk motivates workers to produce high-quality work because they have something to look forward to at the end of the week. 

→ Read more: Learn How to Keep Employees Motivated

Increased Cost Savings 

Employers may save more money when they shift to a four day workweek schedule due to lessened usage of facilities and utilities. Staff members will only use electricity and water four times a week, which can cut monthly operating costs. Not only that, employees could save more time and money with fewer commuting days.

Attractive Feature for Talent and Employee Retention 

Companies with a four day work week have a high employee retention rate since they have more time for their personal lives. Job seekers consider this structure attractive because it results in a healthy, competitive, and rewarding work culture where they have better job satisfaction. 

→ Read more: 8 Warning Signs an Employee Is About to Quit

Disadvantages of a 4-Day Work Week 

Having a four day work week with reduced hours sounds like a dream for employees. However, this business model has its challenges and disadvantages.

Not a Perfect Fit for Every Business 

One of the main cons is that it doesn’t apply to every industry. Healthcare, hospitality, retail, and real estate businesses would suffer huge losses that render the benefits of a 4 day work week useless. 

Instead of having a positive effect, this business model could disrupt some companies in these industry verticals. Not all organizations can easily adopt this schedule.

Large enterprises in particular might have difficulty adapting to a flexible work schedule. They’d have to reorganize scheduling in different departments which could lead to team coordination challenges, such as misaligned goals.

Increased Stress Levels 

A four day work week may mean longer time off but at the expense of longer hours every work day, leaving employees stressed or burnt out. This business model pressures workers to finish deliverables within a shorter period. 

→ Read more: Prevent Quiet Quitting With These Six Tips

A frustrated employee pinching the bridge of her nose while holding her glasses

Image Source: Canva

Negative Customer Satisfaction 

Part of the disadvantages of a 4-day work week is poor customer satisfaction. Customers and clients may be unsatisfied with limited access to an organization’s services. 

Some companies split the office’s working hours in two, where half the team has Mondays off while the other half has Fridays off. This way, clients and customers continue to have their needs met. 

Short-Lived Morale Boost 

The benefits of a 4 day work week are great for employers and employees, but these can be short-lived. Companies have only adopted this scheduling for a couple of years, at most, so there’s no conclusive data about long-term, positive results. 

Switching to this schedule doesn’t solve work culture issues. Employees can still feel unsatisfied or demotivated.

Is the Four Day Work Week Worth Implementing?

Switching to this business model could show improved results for employers and employees. However, there are 4 day work week pros and cons to consider before making the switch. 

Putting this into practice requires drastic changes to the business model. Fortunately, working with a team of professional HR experts at Ad Culture will take some of the stress off your plate. From consulting to recruitment, we’re here to help grow your business with you.

Contact us today and learn more about what we can do for you!

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