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  • Writer's pictureBrian Cathcart

Is the 4-day Workweek Here to Stay, or is it Just a Wishful Dream?

Updated: Mar 5, 2023

The concept of a four-day workweek has been around for decades, but it's only recently gained significant traction as a potential solution to issues like burnout, work-life balance, and employee retention. Some companies have experimented with four-day workweeks, and many have reported positive outcomes. But is the four-day workweek really here to stay?

Not too long ago, many companies expected their employees to work seven days a week. In the 1970s, employees at McKinsey & Company were expected to work seven days a week. That was the culture and the expectations. If they didn't work every day, they were seen as not pulling their weight and not contributing to the team. It wasn't until years later that people started taking days off for religious reasons, and something happened – the people who worked only six days were more productive than those who worked all seven. As an experiment, some employees decided to take this change a step further and tried only to work five days a week, and the results were undeniable. The five-day workweek became the new standard, but is that enough? In short, it's difficult to say for sure. Several factors could contribute to adopting a four-day workweek as a standard practice, but some obstacles could prevent it from becoming a widespread reality.

One factor that could contribute to the adoption of a four-day workweek is changing attitudes toward work. As younger generations enter the workforce, there's a growing emphasis on work-life balance and prioritizing personal time. This shift in attitudes could make a shorter workweek more appealing to employees and employers alike.

Another factor is the potential for increased productivity. Studies have shown that shorter workweeks can actually increase productivity, as employees are more focused and motivated during their time in the office. This increased productivity could offset any costs associated with paying employees for one fewer day of work.

However, there are also some obstacles to the widespread adoption of a four-day workweek. For one, it may not be feasible for all industries or types of jobs. Some jobs require more than 32 hours per week to get the work done, and some industries may not be able to afford the potential productivity loss that could come with shorter workweeks.

There's also the issue of pay. Employees working one fewer day per week may expect to be paid for that day off. This could be a significant cost for employers, particularly in industries with tight profit margins.

Finally, there's the question of how a four-day workweek would impact the economy as a whole. If more companies adopt shorter workweeks, it could lead to a reduction in overall hours worked, which could have ripple effects throughout the economy.

The four-day workweek is clearly an intriguing concept, and there are many potential benefits to adopting it as a standard practice. However, some obstacles could prevent it from becoming widespread. As with any significant change, we'll likely see a gradual shift towards shorter workweeks rather than a sudden, widespread adoption. Only time will tell whether the four-day workweek is here to stay.

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