Is the Four-Day Work Week Coming to America?

Employee commuting to work

Global trends have more people asking, “Is the four-day work week coming to America?”

With the benefits other countries have reported, there’s no doubt that forward-thinking organizations are considering a move to a four-day work week.

It’s been reported that a four-day week not only boosts employee productivity but also has the potential to reduce turnover.

Interestingly, companies that have switched to a four-day work week have seen exponential benefits.

Some organizations reported a 27% reduction in stress amongst their staff. Other companies experienced a 20% increase in productivity. Employees reported a 45% improvement in work-life balance.

These are some incredible results, but does it mean a shorter work week will soon make its way stateside?

How Does a Four-Day Work Week Work?

There is no formula for implementing a four-day work week … yet. For now, organizations have to consider the demands of their industry to identify the right strategy for success.

Additionally, every business has its own unique needs and culture, so organizations will need to work closely with key stakeholders and their workforce to get their four-day work week formula just right.

What Are the Benefits to a Four-Day Work Week?

You can bet there is a slew of benefits companies experience by implementing a four-day work week, however, given today’s economic volatility, most leaders are interested in the financial perks first and foremost.

Employees commuting to work in the busy city center.

The four-day work week is a great way for companies to cut costs.

With an extra day out of the office, organizations are saving on:

  • Labor costs.
  • Energy costs.
  • Custodial services.
  • Office supplies.
  • The cost of other employee perks like paid parking and commuter benefits.

Initial findings also suggest the four-day work week has the potential to maximize productivity. For example, Microsoft Japan implemented a shorter work week in 2019 and saw a significant improvement in efficiency. Their productivity levels soared too.

As a result, the company saw an approximate 40% boost in its general business performance and employee satisfaction increased tenfold. Quite the payoff for spending one less day in the office.

What Do Employees Think of a Four-Day Work Week?

The vast majority of employees believe they could benefit from a shorter work week.

A study from Qualtrics of 1,021 workers found that 92% of participants support shorter working hours.

And if the pandemic taught us anything about the workforce it’s that employees want to spend more time at home because of the flexibility it provides.

  • Employees will have an extra day outside of the weekend to manage personal responsibilities.
  • Working parents will have more time with their children.
  • Employee caretakers will have more downtime.

Will a Four-Day Work Week Solve Employee Dissatisfaction?

One of employers’ most pressing issues in recent years is employee dissatisfaction, making it critical for companies to perform an internal audit to ensure they’re addressing all aspects of the employee experience.

Otherwise, they might find themselves adding a benefit that simply serves as a band-aid.

More specifically, shorter work weeks don’t make up for:

  • Poor PTO.
  • Limited sick and vacation time.
  • Lack of flexibility.

On the other hand, it’s safe to say that shorter work weeks can help increase employee engagement because it creates a greater balance between work and life — making it an incredible addition to any employee wellness program.

Is the Four-Day Work Week Coming to America: The Verdict

When asking, “Is the four-day work week coming to America?” many parties believe it’s inevitable.

However, not every industry will be able to benefit from a shortened work week.

Its adaptation will depend on company flexibility, employee interest and the industry.