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Strategy & Insights: Up Close

Four-Day Workweek to Boost Productivity

A shorter workweek creates happier, more efficient, employees. And a four-day workweek can be a great tool for employee recruitment and retention.

Team doing a photoshoot
The team at ReelPaws recently implemented a four-day week

Research tells us that no matter what we do, taking a holistic, long-term focus on the workforce's well-being is always the best path to both happiness and great work! 79% of U.S. employees say a four-day workweek would improve their mental health; 82% say it would make them more productive.


There are many benefits to employees and companies when it comes to working four days a week. Let's explore why this trend is growing and becoming increasingly popular. 


What is a four-day workweek and how does it help?

Longer weekends improve relationships & metal health

A four-day workweek aims to achieve the same results in fewer hours, giving people more time to pursue other interests. It's a shortened version of the traditional workweek in which workers work four days rather than the standard five, which means they have a three-day weekend instead of the traditional two days off. 


For employees, a four-day workweek is a gateway to a more balanced life. It means less time at work and more time for family, friends, and personal pursuits. But it's not just about personal benefits. Companies also stand to gain from this shift. A four-day workweek often leads to increased productivity and higher employee satisfaction rates, a win-win situation for all.


Research conducted by Henley Business School revealed that UK business leaders and owners who'd made the switch to a four-day workweek reported significant productivity and business efficiency benefits:

  • 64% said employees get more work done because they’re more productive.

  • 63% said employees produce better quality work.

  • 59% said employees spend more time developing their skills.

  • 51% said they were able to save on business costs.

In the same study, researchers estimate that a shorter workweek saves UK businesses as much as 92 billion pounds sterling (about 115 billion dollars) a year in operating costs, which equals 2 percent of revenue.


How to implement a four-day workweek

92% of U.S. employees want a four-day workweek

There are several different ways that companies can implement a four-day workweek. Some choose to have employees work four ten-hour days, while others may have employees work four eight-hour days. Whichever way you choose, the goal is to give employees an extra day off each week. Some companies let their employees choose which day they want off per week, while others give everyone the same rest day. 


According to LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence survey, which surveyed 19,000 workers, 54% of all workers surveyed said the four-day workweek is among their top three priorities regarding workplace benefits. Support for the four-day workweek is solid among the younger workers, with 62% of Millennials and Gen Z supporting the shift.


Which are the benefits of a four-day workweek?

In-studio photoshoot with dogs
A productive photoshoot during a four-day workweek

A shorter workweek improves employees' quality of life by relieving stress and improving mental health. This shorter work week gives them clearer minds when they return to work. But it's not just employees who benefit from a four-day workweek; companies do, too! Employees who are happy and well-rested are more productive and engaged with their work. This can lead to increased profitability for companies and improved employee retention rates


In short, a four-day workweek can lead to improved work-life balance and higher satisfaction levels at work and home. In fact, according to Qualtrics, 92% of U.S. employees want a four-day workweek. Workers say it would improve their mental health and productivity, and 81% say it will also increase their loyalty to their employer. 


Which are the cons of a four-day workweek?

veterinary services
A four-day work week isn't suitable for some businesses

While a four-day workweek has many advantages for employees and employers alike, it also has disadvantages. These potential negative effects need to be evaluated before introducing a shorter workweek.


Potential decrease in overall customer satisfaction. Customers may be negatively impacted if they seek assistance during a traditional workweek (Monday through Friday). They find that no one can help with a problem due to a shorter work schedule. This could lead to a negative impression of the company's reliability to customers.

Extended hours are only suitable for some employees. A 10-hour workday is long, and only some workers have the energy for it. Plus, working longer hours (more than 10 hours a day) has been shown to have negative impacts on employee health. 

Impact on team's performance and project execution. If employees' days off are irregular, coordinating meetings and managing projects may become a challenge. Employees may also feel pressured to work during their days off so they can take advantage of essential updates or appear uncommitted. 


How to decide if the four-day workweek is right for your company


At ReelPaws we love our four-day work week!

A four-day workweek may only be the right fit for some businesses. For companies considering implementing one, it is crucial to consider different factors. The industry your business is part of, company culture, and, of course, your employees’ opinions should all be taken into account before making a final decision.


Consider the following factors before you decide to implement a shorter workweek for your company:

  • Consider your business model and industry. If your business model works around customer support, like hospitality or medical services, implementing a four-day workweek may be unrealistic and profitable. 

  • Speak with stakeholders. Meeting with stakeholders early will help you better understand specific work demands and what may or may not be possible to achieve if a four-day workweek is implemented. 

  • Socialize the initiative with your team. Discussing things with your team will help you determine if the work schedule shift suits the team. It’s essential to make sure you have their support!

  • Consider alternatives to the four-day workweek. Implementing flexible work schedules, like the hybrid work model, can also increase work-life balance without implementing shorter weeks.

  • Roll out the process thoughtfully using change management. If you decide to roll out a four-day workweek, implement a thoughtful change management process to introduce the change, get buy-in from your team, and demonstrate the value of the shift. Change management can also help measure the success of organizational change, so it’s an ideal process to implement when making a significant shift. 


CONCLUSION


Four-day work weeks mean flexibility and an improved work-life balance for employees. In addition, a four-day work week can be a great recruitment tool because who wouldn't want to work for a company that offers an extra day off each week?


At ReelPaws, we are very excited about our four-day workweek model. We are keeping an eye on employee workloads and productivity levels, while continuing to review overall hours spent at the job, to ensure everyone is still productive without being overworked.





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