The idea of a four-day workweek isn’t a new concept, but since the pandemic, whether or not this type of work model should be implemented has become a hot topic of debate in the professional world. Some say four-day workweeks make employees more productive, while others argue that, even if this is true, they can’t spare their entire staff on a Friday.
It boils down to leaders knowing what will work for their companies. But with so many factors to consider, coming to a practical conclusion can seem overwhelming. To share their own perspectives, a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members offer their opinions on the popular four-day workweek model and whether or not they believe leaders should consider it as a valuable solution for better work-life balance.
1. One Solution Won’t Work For Everyone
Despite the ongoing headlines, for me, the whole debate of a five- versus four-day workweek is getting stale. Top leaders I work with directly—including many in the Fortune 500—recognize the benefits of working less. They know that their people need and deserve true work-life balance. They already see their employees for the value and knowledge they bring to the table, far beyond the specific hours they work. And instead of simply shifting to a single, cookie-cutter solution like a four-day workweek, many are embracing novel solutions based on the true and unique needs of their teams. They’re listening. They’re being open and flexible. They’re adapting to a new work reality that can take many shapes and forms, but that thankfully no longer need to be tied to long commutes and clock-punching. – Dave MacLeod, ThoughtExchange
2. It Depends On The Needs Of Your Business
Some businesses need people available seven days a week while others just the standard five. I work in a business that needs people every day answering phones for inbound calls for clients and managing paid media around the clock. Switching to a four-day workweek would mean having to hire additional people to take care of the additional workload. Our business wouldn’t benefit from having more hours per day condensed into fewer days per week. Every business is different though, and each entrepreneur needs to determine what works best for their business model and clients. – Bryan Citrin, Chiropractic Advertising
3. A Four-Day Workweek Is Advantageous If Monitored
The four-day workweek can be incredibly effective if you have accountability baked into your workplace culture. Especially in remote environments, it’s hard for leaders to know and trust that the people they pay are indeed using their work time wisely. Asking them to work four 10-hour days can feel risky. But, if you have an adequate way to measure completed outcomes, you and your team can benefit from having a free day for appointments, meal prepping, quality time with family or whatever it is. – Trivinia Barber, PriorityVA
4. Customer Satisfaction Should Be Considered
In many workplaces, the four-day workweek has been hugely successful for both employers and employees, and that’s because of advancements in technology in the workplace as well. There’s no doubt that this solution has promoted equality, increased productivity and lessened carbon footprints, as employees are no longer commuting as much. However, on the side of the customer, this could be frustrating when they contact the office on a Friday and find out that they’re closed. Although chatbots and AI can help with many queries, a lot of customers would still prefer to talk to a real person. So, a four-day workweek might not be a suitable solution when it comes to customer satisfaction. – Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck
5. Giving Employees More Control Is A Better Option
A four-day workweek is not a solution to finding work-life balance. Employees need the flexibility to work when it’s best for them—provided they get their work done. Allowing employees the flexibility to work when they are most productive is the best solution for some, like early in the morning or into the night. Restricting when or requiring a set number of hours doesn’t increase productivity. We have found that when we offer flexibility in when and how long our employees work, our employees not only get more done, but, when we’re under a deadline, they also have no problem working later to get the job done. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
6. It Could Force Companies To Eliminate Busy Work
There’s a solid argument to be made in favor of four-day workweeks that benefit businesses as well as employees. We know that there’s a lot of time wasted on unnecessary meetings and tasks. Four-day workweeks will force companies to eliminate busy work and focus on activities that do produce results. I think that it’s possible to offer four-day workweeks as long as you document your tasks and offer the right tools to people. We need to combine communication and productivity tools—something that’s already possible—and it’s a certainty that we can still be productive with a four-day workweek. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
7. Offering Flexibility Can Only Help Employee Retention
If the business can implement a four-day workweek for employees and still generate the same (or better) results, then there is no reason not to do it. I believe productivity, motivation and employee happiness will improve if people have better work-life balance, and a four-day workweek would certainly help people achieve it. The truth is, there is no specific reason why employees work five-day, 40-hour workweeks. Offering flexible schedules and remote work options can only help companies retain the best employees, which will lead to the best business results. – Jonathan Prichard, MattressInsider.com
8. A Good Team Will Do Good Work No Matter What
The four-day workweek is a great idea for better work-life balance, and we should not be scared that productivity will fall. In fact, during the lockdowns many companies actually experienced an uptick in productivity. I think one of the most important factors when considering the four-day week is to ask yourself if you have a highly competent and high-performing team. If the answer is “yes,” then even if you go down to four days a week, your team will continue to do good work. However, if there are performance issues with various individuals, those will continue to plague you no matter how many days of the week they work. I think it is definitely a model to experiment with to improve overall performance and work-life balance. – Maria Thimothy, OneIMS
9. It Needs To Be Structured And Implemented Correctly
A four-day week is a good idea depending on how it’s implemented in relation to an individual company’s business model. Some companies might do well with a four-day workweek, where the entire company closes for three days. Other companies might do well where employees choose which four days to work, and the company stays open five days a week. Adopting either model depends on the type of business and what goals they have. A four-day workweek (in any situation) is a good idea only if you have the technology, such as AI, to help streamline production. A four-day week can also only be successful if it is not confused with a compressed workweek. In other words, do not try to cram a full 40-hour workweek into fewer days. Doing so will lead to employee burnout fast. – Shu Saito, Godai Soaps