Pros and Cons of the 4-Day Workweek

By Catherine Lang-Cline

There has been a lot of buzz about the concept of a 4-day workweek. So the question is, is it the answer to all things business? Will it make your team happier? Maybe, but maybe not.

The idea of a 4-day workweek can happen in a couple of different ways, it can be;

  • consolidated into 4 – 10 hour days, for example, 8am – 6pm, 9am – 7pm, etc.,

  • 4 – 8 hour days and salary is changed to reflect the loss of an 8- hour day, hourly pay stays the same,

  • 4 – 8 hours days with no change in salaried pay, hourly pay stays the same.

The pros to this are that the workforce is always getting at least a 3-day weekend if a Monday or Friday is chosen as the “off” day. Not being “open for business” on one of those days can save energy in the office or worksite. It can save money if you have employees working less than 30 hours, it might mean that you no longer need to provide them with benefits.

The cons are a little more tricky. Having a 10-hour day could cause some big issues with people that have children as the school day has completely different hours. It can also be stressful for people that have dogs or other animals that cannot be penned up or left at home without food, water, or a walk for 10-hours plus commute time. An employee could also lose their benefits if those hours dip below 30. An employer might have to hire more employees to rotate people in and out of a “normal” workday in order to make sure all hours are covered.

Ultimately, any employer will need to do what they feel is best for their business. Something like this is only possible if the entire team is meeting or exceeding its goals. Otherwise, those lost hours will be grabbed up by your closest competitor. Let’s use retail as an example. Brick and mortar stores have posted hours that sometimes state that they are closed on Mondays. In contrast, people can shop on the internet 24/7. The customer’s needs have to be met, so are you and your team available when the customer needs you? 

This concept is very early in its testing and for some industries, this may be a perfect solution to many of their business issues. There may be other solutions that could work even better if you have a high-producing team; like flexible hours, working from home, and other customizations that are catered to your individual team members. The best way to find your solution is to ask your team. Then the next step is to figure out what is possible as a business owner to keep the team engaged and keep growing your profit.