Pros and Cons of the 4 Day Work Week (2024)

Pssst... 4 day work week = 32hrs with no drop in salary

📈 Pros and Cons for the Company


Increased Productivity / Output Doesn't Drop

Hundreds of companies have now participated in various 4 day week pilots. The result: we just naturally work more efficiently (known as "Parkinson's Law") and most importantly: revenue doesn't drop.

e.g. Microsoft Japan tried a 4-day week and productivity increased 40%.

More info...

With less time, we naturally work more efficiently (aka "Parkinson's law")


Costs Reduce

There are many ways 4 day week companies can save on operating costs, such as:

  • Lower utility bills: shut the office 1 day / week = heating & electrical costs drop by 10-20%.
  • Smaller office needed: 4-day week + employees off different days + hot-desking = smaller office.
  • Cheaper recruitment: 95%+ of people want a 4 day week, but only ~1% of companies offer it. In other words... watch great candidates come to you.
  • Lower turnover costs: with a 4 day work week, employees retention skyrockets. Put simply:

Once you go to a four-day work week, you don’t go back.


  • Decreased Absenteeism: when staff are healthier, they are off sick less.
  • Lower costs for on-site perks: costs to pay for free meals, on-site gyms & childcare drop by 20%.


More Job Applicants

Let's continue by stating the obvious... 4 day week jobs (32hrs @ full pay) get a lot more applications:

Job applications increased by 500% when Atom Bank switched to a 4 day work week (34hrs).


Better Job Applicants

And let's just say that it attracts candidates who... normally wouldn't apply 😇


Increased Employee Retention

Happier staff = longer employment

Our retention of staff increased from 80% to 98%.

Mark Haslam - Loud Mouth Media


Better for Gender Equality

Here's how a 4 day week is a win for gender equality:

  • Reduces Gender pay gap: Women often take a pay cut due to caregiving - by dropping to part-time. Reimagining full time work as a four-day work week levels the playing field for women.
  • Balanced Caring Responsibilities: when 3k people trialed a 4 day week in the UK, men spent 27% more time looking after children, vs 13% for women.
  • Better for single parents: Childcare can be a massive expensive for single parents. A 4 day week drops this by at least 20%.


Absenteeism Reduces

It's a simple concept: healthier staff & lower burnout = less sick days.

Absenteeism dropped by 67% when 3k employees switched to a 4 day work week.


Increased Diversity & Inclusivity

Put simply, flexibility creates a more diverse & inclusive workplace:

  • Attracts a Broader Range of Candidates: people with family obligations, health problems etc often can't commit to a traditional 5 day week schedule.
  • Better for those with Disabilities: flexibility = inclusivity e.g. employees with disabilities may find a traditional work schedule challenging.
  • Supports Continuing Education: an day off makes it easier for staff to pursue further education, which can increase diversity - especially in roles where certain groups are underrepresented.


Increased Innovation & Creativity

Well-rested employees = increased creativity.

Creativity needs space. Creativity needs downtime. You're not always going to be at your most creative when you're sat in front of a computer.

Jo Burns-Russell, Amplitude Media


More Time for Employees to Upskill

The extra day could be used for employees to enhance their skills e.g. by taking courses, getting professional certification, hobbies etc.


Productivity Needs to Increase by 25%

KPIs are obviously the biggest concern when switching to a shorter work week.

To avoid the business suffering, productivity needs to increase by 25% - to account for the lost day.

Perhaps surprisingly though, output didn't drop in every large scale 4 day week pilot so far e.g. see UK, US and Canada pilots.

How is this possible I hear you ask... Well, the phenomenon of Parkinson's Law means that we naturally work faster when less time is made available.

It's no surprise to me that when staff get 50% more time off, they work much more productively.

Phil McParlane, Founder @


It Can't be Applied in Some Industries

Yes, the 4 day work is certainly more challenging to implement in some situations vs others e.g. customer support needs to be available 5 days / week.

But it doesn't mean there is no hope - we just have to be more creative.

e.g. for customer facing roles: companies usually split teams into different shifts: Mon-Thu and Tue-Fri.

We have the productive and technological capacity for the four-day week to replace the five-day week as the ‘new normal’, and for some version of work time reduction to be achieved across all sectors of the economy.

Joe O'Connor
Director, Work Time Reduction Center of Excellence

❤️ Pros and Cons for the Employee


Burnout Reduces

When 3k employees switched to a 4 day week, 71% reported lower levels of burnout:

More rest = lower risk of burnout

More info...


Staff Sleep More

More free time = more recovery time.

During a recent 4 day week trial, staff slept 16% more on average, vs when they worked 5 days a week.


Staff Exercise More

In a recent study, physical exercise increased by ~21%, vs when they worked a 5 day week.


Staff are Happier

We are stating the obvious here.


Better Work-life Balance

We are also stating the obvious here.


Better for Part Timers

When full-time work is reimagined as a 4 day week - the playing field is levelled. Working part time hours becomes less of a disadvantage for career progression.


It's Not for Everyone

It's true - not everyone loves a shorter workweek. As studies have shown, the days are more intense and some people prefer a slower paced, more relaxed 5 day week to get their work done.

Around 8% of people prefer to work 5 days per week instead of 4.

Source: 3k employees switched to a 4 day week

🌍 Pros and Cons for the World


Reduced Traffic Congestion

A 4 day week means 20% less workplace traffic.


Better for the Environment

Less travel + office energy = lower emissions

More info...


Reduced Healthcare Pressure

A healthier society = lower burden to public services.


More Time to Volunteer

A win for society.


Supports Aging Population

More time = better support for the elderly.


Increased Parental Involvement

More time = more engaged parents.


Boost to Local Economy

More leisure time = more local spending.

Still not convinced?

Here's what happened when 61 companies piloted a 4 day week:

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