Four Day Work Week?


The calls for a four-day work week have gotten louder in recent years, spurred on by the realizations many workers had during the pandemic that work as we know it needs to change.

In the United Kingdom last year, a trial of the four-day workweek involving about 3,000 employees at 61 companies was largely successful. Researchers found that employee well-being went up while company revenue was not significantly affected. Other similar pilot programs have found a four-day week can reduce absenteeism and staff turnover.

Mark Mullen, chief executive of Atom, a U.K.-based bank implemented the four-day work week at his company. Atom bank is a nine-year-old digital retail bank based in the north of England with 470 employees. Mullen says: “In November 2021, we introduced the four-day workweek to our staff, cutting 3.5 hours off each employee’s workweek while leaving their pay unchanged… Since we made the change, we have seen a reduction in recruitment costs, a fall in unwanted staff attrition, lower absences because of sickness and higher employee engagement with our brand. We’ve also seen higher employee productivity, higher profitability and higher customer satisfaction. These are not handpicked, rose-tinted performance measures — they are the fundamentals of building and running a business.

Workers in the U.S. who are surveyed overwhelmingly support moving to a four-day work week (without losing pay). I have been working a four-day work week since I completed divinity school last year. It has been a revelation to have a three-day weekend, and time on Fridays to go to doctor’s appointments, explore the city, hang out with and share meals with friends, and take long walks. I am fortunate in that I run my own business and can work from home. I manage to get my work done on the days I do work in seven hours. The five-day work week that was adopted eighty years ago was in response to the labor movement making the case that seventy plus hours a week was inhumane, and many labor advocates are now calling for a new re-set to a shorter work week that increases quality of life for everyone. 

Are ther any steps you can take to make your work life more flexible?


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