The 5 day week is simply outmoded, a relic of a now distant era. Much like the spinning jenny and the telegram, the 5 day week is obsolete -- but it persists because it is mistakenly believed to be optimal for the economy. It isn't. The 4 day week has proven to deliver as much, if not more, productivity while improving lives: individuals, families, and entire communities. For generations, American workers have not enjoyed the benefits of their hard work. The 4 day week is a way to ensure that economic benefits are shared by everyone -- while improving quality of life, civic engagement, and the environment.
Companies that have made the transition to a 32 hour workweek see increases in productivity, higher talent attraction and retention, deeper customer engagement, and improved employee health. Like with any organizational change, you can also expect some colleagues to need more reassurance, and some to require additional support while they step into more autonomous roles as managers and employees.
There are many benefits to a 32 hour workweek. Make the case that works: deeper community engagement, higher productivity, lower carbon emissions, time with family, or great financial returns — not to mention, the “pursuit of happiness.” People can rest and engage in their lives, companies can build toward a more efficient workweek, customers enjoy the productivity of that collaboration, and our entire country can reap the benefits.
It is critical that the 4 day week benefit everyone, not just one slice of society. The 4 day week must be extended to everyone in order to truly deliver benefits to our nation. The 4 Day Week US campaign is working to ensure employers and employees in all industries and parts of society are part of this transition.
Everyone must benefit from the 4 day week. This may require raising hourly wages, the provision of government incentives, and/or finding ways to provide health care outside of employment to ensure that no one is left behind.
Research shows that employees do not use paid leave more frequently when they have unlimited PTO, which does not solve for long term burnout or exhaustion. The 32 hour work week provides the structure and the norm for employees to take their time off.
Flexible schedules simply reorganize the same number of working hours, which does not solve for long-term burnout or exhaustion. Our goal is to reduce the overall amount of hours that we work, not just rearrange them.
The most successful 4 day week agreements between employees and companies exchange 100% pay for 100% output. Put another way, while employees will be working less hours, added rest and focus means that they can achieve the same goals. As such, research shows that companies benefit from higher productivity and higher returns when their workers continue to be compensated at their standard pay.
That’s okay! Teams operate differently, and any one business’s four day week may not look like your four day week. We’ve seen successful case studies from all sectors, business sizes, and types of workforces when they approach a shorter workweek with the model that works for them. Check out these case studies for examples.
A solution that works for one team, won’t work for all teams - and a solution that only works for one team isn’t a solution. We’re here to help you design an approach that works across your workforce - whether salaried, hourly, informal, or gig. Consider what it would look like to offer a raise to each type of team - except instead of increasing wages, you’re decreasing hours. Check out these case studies for examples.
Some companies may make this decision quickly, but require some time with implementation. Henry Ford spent three years introducing the 5 day week across his entire business. Starting with trials for different parts of your businesses can help build lessons, enthusiasm, and clarity.
Companies across even the most surprising industries are maintaining the same pay levels while instituting shorter workweeks: restaurants, law firms, nursing, and hospitality - as well as start-ups, legacy companies, and small businesses. We know this may take a carefully imagined approach, and are here to help. Henry Ford is often attributed as saying, “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you are right.” If you’re a company that thinks you can, get started with a pilot.