Pros and Cons of a 4-day work week

The five-day working week is a cultural norm. For many, it’s all they’ve ever known and all that they’re expecting.

But for others, it’s something that feels outdated. These days, people want more from their jobs, including a better work-life-balance.

With places all across Europe trying the four-day work week, it’s sparked many debates on LinkedIn, and also excited workers with the possibility of a 3-day weekend. Heaps of employees have already voted on polls in support of the idea.

But is it right for your business?

We’ve listed the Pros and Cons of the four-day working week to discover whether your business should give it a go, or perhaps try something a little more flexible…


Increased Productivity

A three-day weekend is extremely beneficial for employees who find themselves over-worked and burned out by time Friday afternoon hits. You’ll often hear people on Monday mornings talking about ‘needing just one more day off’, and research shows they could be bang on the money.

A pilot at a New Zealand firm claimed their employees were 20% more productive after the 4-day work week. Microsoft Japan also trialled the 4-day working week and their employee’s productivity increased by a whopping 40%.

Having just four-days in the office leads to more efficient meetings and less procrastinating. Employees are also well-rested to achieve their weekly goals.

Healthier & Happier Employees

According to Mind 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem such as anxiety or depression. Having a 3-day weekend gives employees the opportunity to meet up with family and friends, have a short city break somewhere, or even focus on a passion of theirs.

Being around your family or friends naturally leads to a better quality of life and wellbeing.

Great retention & attraction

Back in October, there were 2.29 million job adverts active in the UK. That’s a lot of jobs, and a lot of competition.

What if you could put 4-day working week on your job ad? That would instantly make you stand out from the crowd of Monday-Friday nine-to-fivers.

Along with the benefits of increased productivity and happier employees, you’re more likely to keep your employees for a much longer period of time. This means no stress of recruitment, and the chance to develop strong relationships with a loyal team.


A 4-day work week isn’t suitable for some businesses

For a lot of companies, you’d need to readapt your business for it to work.

Especially if you’re the type of company that prides itself on customer service.

Will your customers be stuck with a chat bot for 3 days a week? Would you have to pay the same rent on an office despite using it one day less?

It’s a lot to consider, and you shouldn’t go into it without really thinking about how it can work for you, your team, and your business model.

For everyone to have a job, you don’t just need happy employees – you need happy clients and customers too!

Longer hours

Although the days have gone from five to four, the work is still the same. Meaning employees will need to cram 40 hours of work into just 4 days. In particularly busy weeks, this may lead to longer hours, and higher stress levels.

It’s not for everyone

Although a four-day work week is the hot-topic on social media, there’s still people who are happy to carry on with their five-day working week. It allows them to clock off bang on 5pm and enjoy their evenings. The pressure of cramming 40 hours a week into just four-days is unappealing to some, and we understand that. Everyone is different!

Conclusion: Should your business consider a four-day work week?

The first thing we’d recommend is looking at your business model. The four-day working week offers amazing benefits and is guaranteed to make the majority of your employees happy, but if it isn’t right for the business, it may cause issues further down the line.

 If you were to introduce a four-day working model, would you shut the business fully for three days a week, or would you hire a weekend team to answer your live chat and email queries? All of these things need to be considered.

Speak with your employees. You need to find out what they think and set realistic expectations from them. Let them know it won’t be all fun and games, and that it’ll be the same amount of work but with a shorter deadline.

If you find this isn’t for you, try adapting a better flexible working policy. There are many ways you can help your employees’ mental health and wellbeing, so we’d recommend sending them a survey and asking them how you can help!

Beam Recruit is a specialist accountancy and finance recruitment consultancy based on three principles: transparent, honest and ethical. Whether you’re recruiting for a position or looking for your next role, Beam can help you along the way.