Why the four-day workweek can be beneficial to the workforce
A four-day workweek is where an employee can work up to 32-40 hours a week, four days a week. Under this arrangement, salaried employees typically get more time off while receiving the same pay. The employee could work Monday-Thursday or choose an alternative day and, of course, still have the weekends off.
The four-day workweek can increase productivity in the workplace. In a trial of the four-day workweek in Japan, productivity increased by 40%. In addition, a four year study conducted in Iceland that tracked 2.500 employees, found that productivity remained the same or improved for the majority of workplaces. This study lasted four years and was done with different fields of work such as offices, hospitals, social service offices and schools.
The study conducted in Iceland also found that the reduced workweek had a profound impact on employee wellbeing. Indicators such as work-life balance, health, and perceived stress and burnout dramatically increased during the study. For example, participant Emily Morrisons’ life changed for the better with the study, “Having more downtime and less ‘Sunday scaries’ over the weekend has helped improve my mental health and approach the week with a more positive attitude, rather than coming in stressed,” she told CNN Business. Other participants also mentioned that they now have time to fulﬁll their ﬁtness goals, better their relationships and try new things they never had time to do.
Overall, a four-day workweek gives employees more free time to do any hobbies that they may not necessarily have time for when they work more days. It also gives employees more time to spend with family and friends, which can lead to better mental health. Having one more day can also give employees more time to relax and unwind from a stressful workweek. The extra day could also be used for employees to run any errands, make and go to any appointments and do anything they might use a sick day for. Employers can also see employees taking fewer sick days with a four-day workweek. The extra time gives employees time to rest and come back to work feeling refreshed and ready to get back into things at work.
The four-day workweek has been shown to have many benefits for employees and employers. While it is not implemented everywhere in the world just yet, there is hope that it can be something employers can consider for their workers. The four-day workweek may not work in everyone's field of work, but if it does, it can be worth a try.
By Victoria Vigil
Victoria Vigil is a senior at San Diego State University. She is a transfer student pursuing a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations. She is interested in one day working in entertainment or nonprofit PR.