What stands between you and a four-day week – Tips and trick for earning (2023)

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It’s Thursday evening. You pack up your things at work and hit the road. Maybe you’re thinking about a lunch plan you’ve got with a friend or a show you plan to binge. But you’re not thinking about clocking in tomorrow: You’ve got a three-day weekend.

All your weekends, in fact, are three-day weekends.

It’s a utopian vision for some. The standard work week in the U.S. has been stuck at 40 hours for almost a century, even as workers have become dramatically more productive. Evidence from pilot programs suggests that shifting to 32-hour weeks without reducing pay is better for workers and doesn’t hurt revenues. Companies that try it largely stick with it.

But opponents of the idea say most businesses would incur increased costs they couldn’t bear as a result.

California lawmakers have considered — however briefly — legislation that would allow workers to propose alternate 40 hour weeks, such as four, 10-hour days, more than a dozen times since 2005. While business groups oppose the idea of paying workers the same rate for eight fewer working hours per week, they do support giving individual workers the option to propose alternate 40-hour schedules. Labor groups, however, oppose that idea.

Here’s what you need to know about the debate and why most Californians are unlikely to get a four-day work week in the near future.

Is a four-day work week up for grabs?

The 40-hour week wasn’t pre-ordained. Economist John Maynard Keynes famously predicted in 1930 that productivity and living standards over the next century would rise so much that, by 2030, we would only have to work for 15 hours per week. In 1956, then-Vice President Richard Nixon predicted a four-day work week in the “not too distant future.”

Neither prediction came true. Keynes was right that productivity would increase, but wrong about the consequences for workers. That may finally be changing. In recent years, advocates and researchers have been building a case for the viability of a shorter work week.

In Iceland, for example, trials in 2015 and 2017 shifted workers to 35- or 36-hour weeks without a reduction in pay. The tests spanned government agencies, schools, police stations, hospital departments and more, affecting more than 2,500 workers. Worker well-being and work-life balance improved while productivity was maintained or increased across the majority of workplaces, according to a report from Autonomy, a progressive think tank that consults with companies looking to shift to a four-day work week.

A more recent trial in the United Kingdom found similar results. In 2022, more than five dozen companies in industries from marketing to manufacturing reduced work hours in one of several ways — a coordinated extra day off, or staggered days off, or an annualized 32-hour week for companies with seasonal demands — while maintaining pay. The report, authored by Autonomy and including analysis from researchers at the University of Cambridge and Boston College, found that workers’ stress decreased on average, and most workers found it easier to balance work and caregiving commitments.

There were benefits for businesses, too: The rate of workers quitting decreased during the trial, and revenue remained essentially steady, increasing by 1.4% on average. By the end of the seven- month trial, 92% of the companies said they would continue the policy, and 18% decided it would be a permanent change.

When the San Francisco-based social media management company Buffer decided to try a four- day week in May 2020, amid COVID-19 lockdowns, Julia Cummings remembers feeling excited and relieved. Cummings, a senior customer advocate with the company, was living in New York at the time. The extra day gave her time to run errands when grocery stores were less crowded, she said. “We’re humans, and we have all of these actual duties outside of work,” she said. Having the “space to do that just felt really like, ‘Phew! Okay cool, this is great.'”

When the trial started, Buffer’s CEO wrote that the aim was to improve employees’ well-being. “This isn’t about us trying to get the same productivity in fewer days,” he wrote in a company blog post. But after internal surveys and data showed sustained productivity, the company decided in 2021 to stick with the change.

For Cummings, who now lives in Los Angeles, the shift to a four-day week meant experimenting with staggered days off so that the customer support team could maintain quick response times. Customers don’t seem concerned with the reduced schedule, she said, and during a time when companies have been struggling to attract and retain workers, “I think overall we view it as a competitive advantage.”

But Buffer’s experience isn’t universal. The managing director of Allcap, an engineering and industrial supplies company that participated in the U.K. trial told the BBC that the company quickly ran into problems, finding that more intense work days were exhausting workers and that they couldn’t find sufficient coverage for the extra days off. The company ultimately withdrew some of its trade sites from the trial a couple months early. Los Angeles-based market research firm Alter Agents tried a four-day work week in 2021, and ended the experiment after finding employee satisfaction was down, Fast Company reported. The company has shifted to giving employees an extra day off per month.

Not everyone is sold

Despite the successful trials, some experts are skeptical that shrinking the work week makes sense across the board.

One potential benefit for employers of reducing work hours is that productivity per hour could go up, said Matthew Bidwell, a professor of management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. But are the increases large enough to offset eight hours of work?

“I doubt the increases in productivity are that large,” he said. “I suspect for most people in most jobs, working a four-day week does mean you’re getting a little less done, at least in the long run.”

People get paid, to some extent, based on how valuable they are to their employers, so if we are all getting a little less done, we are going to get paid less in the long run, he said. Some people might prefer that tradeoff, but not everybody, Bidwell said.

Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford economist, pointed out shortcomings with the trials. The companies that participated aren’t representative of the overall economy: They opted-in to the trial, and there was no control group. “Only firms that think the four-day week works for them will sign up for this study,” he wrote in an email.

When a 32-hour work week requirement for large businesses was introduced in the California Legislature last year, business groups pushed back hard. The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Evan Low, a Cupertino Democrat, would have required companies with more than 500 employees to shift to a 32-hour week without reducing pay, and pay overtime after 32 hours. Dozens of employer groups opposed the bill, saying it would impose “a tremendous cost on employers” and would discourage job growth in California. The bill died without a vote.

“Our point of view is if that’s something that a business wants to do, great, they absolutely have the power to do that,” said Ashley Hoffman, a policy advocate with the California Chamber of Commerce, which opposed Low’s bill. But a mandated “one-size-fits-all approach” forces it on employers for whom it doesn’t make sense, she said.

More proposals in the works

There are other ideas to make four-day work weeks a reality for more Californians — with different approaches and boosters.

One would allow individual employees to propose alternate 40-hour work weeks, like working 10 hours a day, four days a week. That bill was introduced this year by state Sen. Roger Niello, a Republican from Sacramento.

Right now if workers want alternate schedules, they need a two-thirds vote of their “work unit,” which could be all the workers in a department or on a shift. The bill would also change how overtime pay works. In most states, overtime kicks in after 40 hours per week, but in California workers are also paid overtime after eight hours in a day. If the bill were to pass, employees could request alternate schedules, and if the schedule is approved, they would receive overtime after 10 hours in a day or 40 in a week.

Business groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, support the bill, saying that the existing process is complicated, but that employees want the option of flexibility. A poll from Marketplace and Edison Research found that nearly two thirds of workers polled said they’d prefer working 10 hours a day, four days a week to the standard eight-hour days, five days a week.

The bill is unlikely to pass, however; the idea has been proposed at least 14 times since 2005 and has never made it out of committee. It is opposed by the California Labor Federation, an umbrella organization for unions, which wrote in a letter to lawmakers that it “would erode the fundamental right to an eight-hour day.”

Another proposal comes from Low. This year, instead of a 32-hour per week requirement for all large companies, he’s proposed a pilot program that would provide grants to companies that want to try a 32-hour week schedule without reducing pay. Companies that participate would have to evaluate the impact of the trial and share their findings with the state.

“The goal,” Low wrote in an email, “is to reimagine the workforce and improve the lives of millions of Californians.”

CALmatters.org is a nonprofit,nonpartisan media venture explaining California’s policies and politics.


What is the 4 day work week incentive? ›

The bill, known officially as the “Four Day Work Week Act of 2023”, incentivizes both private and public employers to test out three-day weekends by providing up to $750,000 in tax credits to eligible organizations per year.

What is a 4 day workweek schedule? ›

A four-day workweek is a schedule in which full-time employees are expected to work four days a week, instead of the traditional five, for the same pay. It's often confused with a compressed workweek, in which people work a “normal” 35 to 40 hours in four days, followed by three days off.

What is the 100 80 100 rule? ›

The pilot project ran between June and December 2022 and was based on the 100-80-100 model: this means workers got 100% pay for working 80% of their previous hours in exchange for a commitment to maintain 100% productivity.

How does a 4 day work week improve work life balance? ›

The research conducted before and after the trial revealed that 39% of employees experienced lower stress levels and 71% noticed less burnout while working shorter weeks. Anxiety, fatigue, and sleep issues all decreased while physical and mental health significantly improved.

What is weekly incentive pay? ›

Incentive pay is financial reward for performance rather than pay for the number of hours worked. The idea is the prospect of financial compensation will motivate the employee to hit certain performance figures or financial targets.

What are the benefits of a 4 day 10 hour work week? ›

Workforce Institute's research demonstrates that a 4/10 work schedule reduces employee stress and boosts their happiness and well-being. Having an extra day off each week allows employees to find a better work-life balance. In this context, offering 4/10 hour shifts have also shown to increase employee attendance.

What are 4 week shift patterns? ›

What is a 4 week rolling rota? Also known as a monthly rota, a continuous rota, or a 4-week cycle rota - this kind of rota creates a fair distribution of shifts between staff members to meet the needs of your business. The shift patterns may include early starts or night working, busier periods, or quieter periods.

What are the disadvantages of a 4 day work week? ›

These are the pitfalls of a 4-day workweek you haven't thought...
  • It could lead to more stress.
  • It could require additional customer support.
  • A one-size schedule does not fit all.
  • How it applies to parents and teachers.
  • Businesses could face higher costs for more well-adjusted employees.
Apr 7, 2023

What is a 4 day 10 hour work week schedule? ›

What is a 4/10 compressed work schedule? The most common compressed work arrangement type is a 4/10 schedule, which means an employee works four 10-hour days (Monday through Thursday), with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. You'll also hear this arrangement referred to as “a four-day workweek.”

What is the best day to take off during the 4-day week? ›

Experts have found that the best day to take off is Wednesday. The pace of life on the weekend versus the work week helps explain why it feels hard to get back in the groove on Monday morning—but that doesn't mean that the best way to reinvigorate yourself is by taking a long weekend.

What is the secret to balance work-life? ›

Make time for self-care and breaks each day.

If your schedule allows, one way to do this is by blocking time for breaks or short self-care activities, such as taking a walk, on your calendar. "Schedule personal things in your calendar like workouts, phone calls with family or friends, or coffee breaks.

What is the best schedule for work-life balance? ›

Step 2: Create a schedule to dedicate time to all personal aspects
  • Morning: Exercise, Running, Workout: Time 6:30 AM – 7:30 AM.
  • Afternoon: Call Family during break: Time: 1:30 PM – 1:45 PM.
  • Evening: Play with family/children/self: Time: 7:30 PM – 8:00 PM.

What is a merit payout? ›

Merit pay, also known as pay-for-performance, is defined as a raise in pay based on a set of criteria set by the employer. This usually involves the employer conducting a review meeting with the employee to discuss the employee's work performance during a certain time period.

Why getting paid weekly is better? ›

Weekly payroll can help employees with irregular schedules and those who work overtime. For example, if an employee works 50 hours one week and 30 hours the next week, weekly payroll ensures that your employee is paid their overtime faster. Simply put, weekly pay matches any inconsistent flows of work.

What are the three types of incentive plans? ›

Incentives can be generally classified as financial (monetary) incentives and non-financial (non-monetary) incentives.
  • Financial (Monetary) Incentives. Financial incentive pertains to those incentives which are in the form of money or can be measured in monetary terms. ...
  • Non-Financial (Non-Monetary) Incentives.

Is a 4 day work week still 40 hours? ›

Increased productivity

Even though a four-day workweek is still 40 hours worth of work, an employee may feel less overworked than their counterparts who work more of a traditional schedule. At the very least, these employees usually maintain the same productivity level.

Is a four-day work week good or bad? ›

Not only does a 4 day work week increase employee satisfaction, company commitment and teamwork, but it also decreases stress levels. Even better, reducing employees' work schedules to a 4 day work week doesn't harm their productivity or company output.

Is it better to work 5 8 hour days or 4 10 hour days? ›

The math is simple: working five eight-hour shifts is equivalent to working four 10-hour shifts. That's true. But the implications of these schedules are different. The danger is in disregarding the health effects that can occur as a result of fatigue and stress that accumulate over a longer-than-normal working day.

What is a 5 5 4 shift schedule? ›

5/5/4 rotating schedule

The 5/5/4 rotating schedule uses five teams of employees and three overlapping ten-hour shifts to operate 24/7. This system uses a 25-day cycle. For example, Team A works five consecutive 10-hour first shifts, followed by three days off.

What is the most effective shift pattern? ›

What is the best shift pattern to work? The 4 on, 4 off shift pattern model is extremely common and is often used in 24/7 shift work environments.

What is 4 3 3 4 shift schedule? ›

Four days ON (first shift) Three days OFF. Four days ON (second shift) Three days OFF.

How do you negotiate a 4 day work week? ›

When negotiating a 4-day workweek, emphasize how the arrangement will help the company, such as better quality of work. Be clear about how you will get your work done and any applicable boundaries. If your boss isn't keen on the idea, suggest a trial.

Is the 4 hour work week realistic? ›

Is it realistic to have a four-hour workweek in 2021? Probably not, but depending on your financial needs, you can likely live anywhere, work the schedule you want to work, and have more flexibility than ever. Remote work has become the norm for many companies, but how does it affect team productivity?

Is 4 10s worth it? ›

With a 4/10 work schedule, employees have three days off to look forward to each week. Because of this, employees will inevitably have more free time to unwind and reduce stress. This could also lead to increased productivity, as you may come to truly value the time you have during work.

What is a 3 12 schedule? ›

For three days you work 12 hours during the day, have two days off; work 12 hours on nights for 4 days, have 3 days off; work 12 hours on days for 3 days etc. Of course there are many variations on this theme.

What is a 4 5 5 4 12 hour shift schedule? ›

The system involves four (4) shifts on, five (5) off followed by five (5) shifts on, four (4) shifts off followed by five (5) shifts on, five (5) shifts off, on a continuing basis.

What is the most effective day of the week? ›

Accountemps discovered that Monday and Tuesday are the two most productive days of the week for employees. Specifically, 39 percent of human resources managers think employees get the most done on Tuesdays, while 24 percent believe productivity peaks on Mondays.

Why is a 4 day week better than a 5 day week? ›

A four-day work week improves employees' health in numerous ways, from reducing anxiety and stress to enabling better sleep and more time for exercise, according to a large new report.

What are the golden rules of work-life balance? ›

Prioritization is the only way to create work life balance — it is the golden rule of work-life balance.

What's one thing that would improve your work-life balance immediately? ›

Take Time to Rest Both Mentally & Physically

Taking a break is a great way to recharge your batteries and prepare you for what lies ahead. This might include taking time away from your desk if your schedule allows and getting an appropriate amount of sleep at night.

How do you deal with poor work-life balance? ›

Communicate with your manager. Poor work-life balance is often exacerbated by the fear that we're not doing enough. Talking to your leaders can help you prioritize where to spend your time. If there really is too much to do, it might be time to talk about hiring additional help or streamlining certain tasks.

Do you get paid less for 4 day work week? ›

Here's the good news: If you're a salaried employee, a four-day work week would likely mean you get more time off while receiving the same pay. In other words, no change to your regular paycheck. If you're an hourly employee, here could be changes to overtime pay.

Will America move to a 4 day work week? ›

Some 71 percent of Americans say they support the concept of a four-day workweek, a poll for Newsweek shows, while 83 percent think they could complete their weekly workload in four days. American work culture remains focused on 'busyness,' which could represent an obstacle to the introduction of the shorter workweek.

What companies are adopting a 4 day work week? ›

10 companies that offer a 4-day work week:
  • Amazon.
  • Basecamp.
  • Bolt.
  • Buffer.
  • Kickstarter.
  • Microsoft.
  • Panasonic.
  • Shopify.

What are the benefits of a 32 hour work week? ›

A shorter workweek can lead to increased productivity, improved physical and mental health, and higher levels of job satisfaction. Moreover, businesses that adopt a 32-hour work week can enjoy a range of benefits, including lower overhead costs, increased employee retention, and higher levels of innovation.

What are the disadvantages of a 4-day work week? ›

These are the pitfalls of a 4-day workweek you haven't thought...
  • It could lead to more stress.
  • It could require additional customer support.
  • A one-size schedule does not fit all.
  • How it applies to parents and teachers.
  • Businesses could face higher costs for more well-adjusted employees.
Apr 7, 2023

Is a 4-day work week 40 hours or 32 hours? ›

Originally, the 4-day workweek was designed to be an overall reduction in hours — from the standard 40 hours down to 32 hours per week — but some employers have opted for variations, where employees work on a compressed work schedule that distributes the standard 40 working hours across four days instead of five.

What country has the lowest working hours? ›

Somalia was the country with the lowest average weekly working hours per employee in 2021, with the most recent value showing that Somalians worked on average less than seven hours per week.
CharacteristicAverage actual weekly working hours per employee
11 more rows
Oct 14, 2022

Why are many companies switching to a 4 day work week? ›

The idea of a four-day workweek gained popularity after the Covid-19 pandemic led many people to push for more flexible work arrangements. Proponents say four-day workweeks increase employee well-being without sacrificing productivity.

What are the pros and cons of a 4 day work week? ›

Pros of a 4-day workweek can include cost savings, increased productivity, and employee retention. Some disadvantages, however, can include scheduling challenges, reduced producivity, and added stress.

What is a 32 hour work week? ›

The primary structure of the 32-hour workweek is to have people work eight hours a day for four days. Some businesses may prefer a slightly different structure with staff working 32 hours over five days.

What is a 4x10 schedule? ›

What is a 4/10 compressed work schedule? The most common compressed work arrangement type is a 4/10 schedule, which means an employee works four 10-hour days (Monday through Thursday), with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. You'll also hear this arrangement referred to as “a four-day workweek.”

Does Lockheed Martin work 4 days a week? ›

At Lockheed, they let you pick if you wanted to work the standard 5x8 days 40 hour week, 4x10 days 40 hour week, or the 9x9 80 hour two-weeks with every other Friday off. This worked great. Everyone was aware that not everyone on the team could be counted as being available on Fridays depending on their schedule.

What are the downsides of a 32-hour work week? ›

Disadvantages of a 32-Hour Workweek

For many employers, it can be too costly to compensate overtime wages for a 32-hour workweek. This is due to the fact that with current legislation, employers are required to pay overtime wages for any employee who works over 40 hours per week.

Why you should work 80 hours a week? ›

While it certainly isn't recommended as an ongoing, regular part of your work experience, a hard week of 80+ hours may allow you to catch up on your work load and keep the stress away from the rest of your month.

How many hours a week should I work for? ›

If you want to achieve the perfect blend of productivity, happiness, and time affluence, a more realistic goal is to work slightly below 40 hours per week. The research shows that even shaving an hour or two off of the standard 40-hour workweek can have huge benefits, both at work and at home.


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