The four-day workweek has grown in popularity in recent years. No, this does not refer to squeezing in 10-hour days for four days a week — it means cutting the amount of hours employees typically work by around 20%.
Research shows that companies who shift to this new work schedule often see an increase in productivity and overall wellbeing among their employees.
For instance, a 2018 research paper from the International Labour Organization (ILO) revealed that long work hours are intertwined with lower productivity, while shorter hours were directly linked to higher productivity.
Additionally, a four-day workweek can help create a more equal workplace regarding class and gender. This is particularly important to a post-pandemic workplace, as over two million women have left the workforce since 2020 due to childcare responsibilities.
Even aside from the pandemic, women are less likely to be part of the labor market than men. However, by adopting a shorter week, women may be able to reenter the workforce thanks to a more flexible schedule that helps them balance their personal responsibilities.
However, the short work week may also come with negative implications. This includes taking into account wage and work hour issues that could arise for employees.
For instance, hourly employees may run into obstacles involving overtime, time off, benefits and how these shorter hours could impact part-time workers.