← All posts

Schedules & Calendars

5 Benefits of a Four-Day Work Week

Read Time: 14 min
← All resources


No items found.
Table of Contents

The idea of a shorter work week has regained traction lately as organizations explore ways to improve work-life balance, productivity, and employee satisfaction. Condensing the work week from the standard 40 hours to a 32-hour week seems counterintuitive. Yet research and four-day week trials have shown the many benefits of adopting a four-day work week. Read on as we explore the top five reasons you should consider making the switch at your organization.

Where Did the Idea of Working Four Days per Week Come From?

The concept of a four-day workweek dates back to 1930 when British economist John Maynard Keynes predicted technological advancements would lead to shorter work weeks. Despite early mentions, widespread attention to this idea didn't emerge until recently. However, the movement gained renewed momentum in recent years and accelerated post-pandemic. In fact, in the U.S., 87% of workers express interest in a four-day week. The rise of hybrid work schedules has further fueled interest in this concept, with many businesses worldwide conducting trials or adopting this model.

Top 5 Benefits of a Four-Day Work Week

Studies and data strongly support four-day work weeks. Short-term weeks provide advantages across the board, from concrete business cost savings to more intangible employee gains.

1. Improves Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

It almost goes without saying that employees value flexibility and an extra non-work day. They can use it to pursue personal goals or simply relax and recharge for the next week. Several recent four-day week trials also support this claim, as researchers consistently find high employee satisfaction rates.

For example, a 2022 six-month trial in the U.K. involving nearly 2,900 workers at 61 companies showed that working four days a week significantly increased job satisfaction. Ultimately, this higher satisfaction directly translates to better employee engagement across the organization. People are more engaged with their roles and work more diligently within the condensed schedule of 32 hours per week.

2. Helps Reduce Operational Costs and Carbon Footprint

From utility bills to office supplies, keeping operations running all week costs money. Shifting to a four-day week eliminates 20% of variable overhead expenses like electricity and energy consumption. It also reduces the consumption of office supplies and services since amenities and systems run for fewer days.

There's also a sustainability upside in closing office buildings for an extra day per week. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that commercial and residential buildings account for about 13% of greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the cumulative reduction in energy consumption due to one less day of office operations can be substantial, leading to a smaller carbon footprint.

3. Increases Productivity

Many critics argue that shortening in-office hours would decrease overall employee productivity. However, experiments have found the exact opposite — people get more done in condensed schedules thanks to tighter coordination and minimized time waste.

For example, Microsoft Japan saw a 40% productivity boost after testing a four-day work week in 2019. Job performance rose, meetings were more efficient, teams stayed better coordinated to complete projects faster, and there was a better use of previously wasted time overall.

4. Helps Achieve Work-Life Balance and Reduces Stress

With increasingly complex responsibilities at work and home, people struggle to balance the two and become overworked and stressed. This adversely affects mental and physical health. Several studies have shown that transitioning to a four-day week dramatically reduces employee stress while enabling better work-life balance through greater schedule control.

According to Zippia, extensive surveys found that with a four day work week schedule:

  • 70% of employees report less stress
  • 78% of employees report being happier
  • Work-life balance increases by 45%

Allowing employees more freedom to structure their week facilitates work-life balance while reducing anxiety.

5. Attracts New Talent and Improves Employee Retention

In an increasingly candidate-driven job market, progressive policies like shorter weeks make companies more attractive. According to a 2023 Gartner poll, 63% of candidates rated a four-day work week and pay as the ultimate benefit that would attract them to a job.

Besides drawing fresh applicants, shortened weeks also boost employee loyalty and tenure. Another survey of 1,000 workers by "January Qualtrics" showed that 81% of employees say a four-day work week would make them feel more loyal to their employer. As the competition for attracting and retaining top talent grows fierce in a tight labor market, a four-day week can be your secret weapon.

How To Transition From a Five-Day Week to a Four-Day Week

Adopting a four-day week requires coordination at leadership and team levels, along with some key policy changes:

  • Schedule and Plan Ahead: Conduct demand forecasting and capacity planning analysis to ensure output targets can still be met with teams working shorter weeks. Also, thoughtfully map out individual employee schedules so that core hours have full coverage while allowing flexibility at other times.

  • Set Clear Expectations: Communicate the purpose and envisioned benefits of the transition to four-day weeks. Adopt a clear hybrid work policy and set expectations concerning schedule flexibility and key availability hours.

  • Equip Managers: Provide managers with tools and training to coordinate seamless hybrid working across distributed teams.

  • Iterate and Improve: Since shorter weeks represent a big shift, keep iterating to refine schedules. Request constant feedback from team members on what is working well and on pain points to address.

Coordinate Teams in and out of the Office With Scoop

With the rise in remote and hybrid work schedules, four-day weeks have gained mainstream attention as more people understand the multiple upsides. However, coordinating hybrid teams combining remote and onsite workers requires more than hybrid work policies and good intentions. It requires the right implementation of technology and solutions to support it. That's where Scoop comes in.

Scoop provides powerful planning tools that allow teams to coordinate and plan their office days together. You can easily set and share team in-office days optimized for collaboration. Furthermore, Scoop seamlessly integrates with your existing set of tools, such as Slack and Google Calendar.

Avoid the hassle of disjointed spreadsheets or clunky workforce management platforms. Embrace the future of work with Scoop and get started for free today.

Related Resources

Hybrid Meetings

A Guide to Meeting-Scheduling Etiquette for Hybrid and Distributed Teams

Explore the significance of adhering to meeting-scheduling norms within hybrid and distributed teams, alongside six key pointers for orchestrating productive meetings.
Culture & Employee Engagement

How To Improve Poor Communication in the Workplace

Explore the repercussions of inadequate workplace communication and its impact on teams. Discover five strategies to enhance team communication and boost productivity.

Employee Productivity vs. Hours Worked: Which One Matters the Most?

Explore the relationship between employee productivity and hours invested. Discover the pros and cons of monitoring both working hours and task completion.