Countries like Ireland, Scotland, and Spain are looking to experiment with nationwide four-day work week programs in order to boost productivity and reduce the risk of burnout.
However, as promising as the movement for shorter work weeks seems, there are downsides that should be addressed before moving forward with this type of work arrangement.
One such issue is the idea of longer work days. In the UK, the average work week totals around 42.5 hours, meaning that employees may need this amount of time to complete their tasks.
Condense that into four days, and workers may be spending at least 12 hours each work day at work, with little to no time for anything else. Depending on the work volume of employees, trying to squeeze five days worth of work into four may be counterproductive in the long run.
Another challenge that a shorter work week can cause is faux productivity. Although one of the biggest perks of four-day work weeks touted by enthusiasts has been short-term productivity gains, this may actually indicate increased work intensity and less boundaries between work and home.
So what is a more ideal solution? For starters, workers clearly need to work fewer hours overall, not just fewer days. Even more, employees should be able to manage and afford their lives without overworking and approaching burnout.