If you could work for 80% of the time for the same pay and maintain 100% productivity, would you jump at the opportunity? Of course, you would! With that in mind, it’s no wonder that the concept of the 4 day work week is so appealing and growing in demand. But is there a catch to this, and what is the difference between a 4 day work week v 5 day work week? Discover this and more by reading on!
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4 Day Work Week V 5 Day
The below table highlights the key differences between a 4 day and 5 day work week.
|4 Day Work Week||5 Day Work Week|
|Number of hours||80% – Approx. 32 hours (8 hours per day) or 100% – Approx. 10 hours (10 hours per day)||100% – Approx. 40 hours|
|Pay levels||Should be the same as 5 day work week||Normal pay|
|Costs to employee||Reduced commuting spends Reduced lunch/coffee spend||Commuting and food costs for 5 days|
|Costs to employer||Reduced running hours, overhead bills, security bills||Normal running costs|
|Holiday entitlements||80%: 22.4 days 100%: 28 days||28 days|
|Productivity||Higher productivity and engagement Less time socializing/distracted Fewer morning/startup and close out meetings||Same or lower productivity|
|Stress levels||Lower stress levels, more rest time on weekends||Generally higher stress levels, less rest time on weekends|
|Carbon footprint||Lowered due to energy savings, less commuting||Higher|
A poll of small businesses showed that 67% of workers have a flexible working arrangement. Source
The above table gives you just a snippet of the differences between a 4 day and 5 day work week. Below, I share with you some phenomenal statistics, costs and benefits associated with working a 4 day week. Additionally, let’s answer some burning questions, such as if holidays change when working 4 days. More importantly, discover whether you’ll be in for a pay cut too!
4 Day Work Week V 5 Day
Number of hours on a 4 day work week
You’re probably wondering if a 4 day work week is still 40 hours. The concept of the 4 day work week generally means that you will work 80% of the hours you would normally work within a 4 day work week.
The average employee in America works approximately 34.5 hours, but that can stretch to 40 hours per week.
If you work 34.5 hours, it will lead to a 28 hour working week instead.
For those people working a 40 hour week, it would mean working about 32 hours (or 80% of the time) in a 4 day period.
That said, some companies interpret the 4 day work week to mean that the same number of hours are worked (100%), except they are crammed into 4 longer work days.
For this article, we will assume that the 4 day work week is based on working fewer hours in the week.
Pay levels on a 4 day work week
Does a 4 day work week mean less pay? This is a key question on the minds of people, and rightly so!
The idea behind the 4-day work week is that you work 80% of the hours over the 4 days with greater productivity and still receive 100% of the pay.
That said, there will be companies who will state that if you’re going to earn the same pay, you’ll have to continue working your original number of hours.
Therefore, if you are considering a 4-day week job, then pay is a factor that you’ll need to evaluate to see the employer’s stance on it.
Pay is only one side of the coin though, the cost savings you could be making on a 4 day week are a hidden jewel that will be discussed next.
Costs to employee on a 4 day work week
Commuting to work consumes time and money for workers. So, if a person only needs to come to work 4 days a week, they can save on the cost of transport and time spent travelling to and from work.
Equally, the cost of childcare is burning holes in the pockets of working parents. Therefore, by sending your child to childcare 4 days instead of 5 days will save you money indirectly.
Having your child looked after for just 1 day less could save you a whopping $44.20 – $138.8 per week!
Let’s not forget the added costs of buying lunches and those extortionately priced coffees every day!
You could be spending anywhere up to $5.95 on just 1 coffee! That’s a saving of $285.6 per year if you stopped buying a coffee just 1 day a week!
By being in work or the office 1 less day a week means that you are less likely to be purchasing such luxuries, which believe you me, will add up!
Costs to employer on a 4 day work week
It’s a no-brainer that having a building open and running for 4 days is generally more cost efficient than having it open for 5 days. Many businesses can accommodate this work model.
However, manufacturing lines, emergency facilities, catering companies and customer service companies may not be able to support this while achieving the same output and support.
Consider a business model works on a system that doesn’t involve providing customer service at certain hours or days, or manufacturing products. For them, then it’s often possible that they can adopt a 4 day work week and shut the site for the fifth day.
If equipment doesn’t need to be started up and shut down each day and staff don’t need to come into an office, this then equates to savings.
These include reduced electricity bills, heating and overheads which would be consumed by having people and equipment working an extra day.
When Microsoft in Japan introduced a shorter work week, they discovered a greater than 20% reduction in electricity costs.
Equally, the costs of maintaining offices and buildings can be slashed. For instance, the costs associated with paying for cleaners and catering companies could be cut by 20% if they’re in the workplace one less day a week.
Tip: A service-based company could consider a work from home policy at least 1 day a week if a 4-day work week wasn’t feasible.
Holiday entitlements on a 4 day work week
Do I get less holidays when working a 4 day week? Again, another extremely common question asked by the workforce. Holiday entitlements are calculated using a formula:
Number of days worked per week x 5.6 = Days holiday
For example, 4 days x 5.6 = 22.4 days holidays per year.
Let’s take the statutory annual leave entitlements in America for an example.
For a person working full time, they are entitled to 28 days leave per year. However, since annual leave is based on the number of days you work, you will receive 20% fewer holidays.
Essentially, this generally means that if you’re working 80% of the hours, you will be entitled to 22.4 days annual leave a year.
If on the other hand, you work the same number of hours, say 40 hours but condensed into 4 days, you’ll still be entitled to 28 days leave a year.
It’s not all bad news though…
Remember that you’ll now be indulging in a 3 day weekend every single week!
If you look at it from that perspective and add your extra day off per week, you realistically have approximately 48 extra days off per year!
Productivity on a 4 day work week
The expectation with the 4 day week is that productivity will be maintained despite fewer hours in the working week.
However, some companies have blown this expectation out of the water with some of the results from their 4 day week trials.
Microsoft in Japan for example, saw a whopping 40% increase in productivity as a result of allowing their staff to work 4 days a week. Perpetual Guardian are another company who reported a 20% increase in productivity during their shorter work week trial.
As people get tired and clock up more hours, they tend to start taking breaks, become less focused and squander their time with less productive tasks. Overworked staff have been shown to be less productive than those working a normal number of hours.
Studies have shown that as the number of working hours increase, the level of productivity decreases.
The most productive countries in the world work an average of 27 hours per week.
With fewer hours available in the day and working week, people are more energized and motivated to get their work done on shorter time limits.
It makes sense too when you think about anytime you have been finishing up to go on vacation.
I’ll bet many of you agree when you look back and recall how productive you were trying to close out tasks so that you could escape out of work for your holidays!
Additionally, when you work 4 days a week instead of 5, you are spending less time in morning meetings and tiered meetings throughout the day.
There are fewer hours available for people to schedule unnecessarily long meetings, so they setup shorter meetings and get to the point quicker.
It’s like any deadline you set. The longer you give yourself, the more time it will take. Time expands based on the amount of time you have available.
One of my personal favorite productivity books is the 4-Hour Workweek. After reading this book, I managed to slash the number of emails I sent per week by an astounding 70%. I now put that time into real work instead of living in my inbox!
Recommended reading: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (link on Amazon)
Stress levels on a 4 day work week
In a world dominated by employee burnout becoming an epidemic, a shorter work week could be an effective means of preventing it.
A 4 day working week boasts a 3 day weekend. With an extra day available to recoup and rest, workers are shown to be more energized for the working week.
It also boasts mental health benefits as people have more time on their hands to spend doing whatever way they wish. A trial by a New Zealand company of a 4 day week resulted in staff stress levels reducing from 45% to 38%.
People are also less likely to take stress leave or sick leave as they have more time to recover.
That said, there can be individuals who struggle with the extra pressure to reach deadlines on shorter timeframes. This can lead to added stress for them, especially if the workload is too much.
Plus, if the person is working the normal 40 hours a week in a 4 day period, the longer days can take adjusting to.
Fatigue may be something that they experience as they are not used to working the extra long days.
Tip: Regular breaks are essential, whether they are small breaks to get up from your desk or rest breaks.
Carbon footprint on a 4 day work week
Countries can expect approximately 20% reductions in their carbon footprint by introducing 4 day work weeks. This is the trajectory that Britain have estimated they could make by adopting this shorter work week.
Commuting is a carbon-intense activity and commutes often lasting hours for some workers. Therefore, travelling to work one less day per week is a direct method of reducing the carbon footprint of millions!
We all want to do our bit to reduce our impact on the environment. But we also know that it’s much more achievable if it involves as little effort as possible. A 4 day week could be the answer to our climate crisis too.
It’s clear to see how a 4 day work week is growing in demand. With a greater number of days off, higher productivity and lower stress levels, it’s no wonder that companies who implement it have greater employee retention and satisfaction.
But considering that a 5 day work week has been part of our working culture for over a century, it won’t be a quick or easy transition.
It won’t suit all business models either. But there are often roles within such companies where certain workers can still support the company while still working 4 days.
If you would like to further enhance your knowledge on work setup and organization, I have written some articles that are without a doubt worth a look.
Here are some other useful articles I wrote that you should go check out:
- Does 4 Day Work Week Save Companies Money? + Proven Results!
- Does A 4 Day Work Week Save Money? Discover How to Save Now!
- 4 Day Work Week V 5 Day – Full Of Surprising Facts & Results
- Best 4 Day Work Week Alternatives – 7 Proven Strategies!
- Essential work at home gadgets – 5 must-haves!