white calendar with colored pieces placed on 4 different days. A sky blue old style alarm clock is placed at the top right corner of the calendar
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
February 23, 2022 ·  4 min read

Four-day working week makes us more productive’

The pandemic has irrevocably changed the world. For example, the lockdowns have put a spotlight on the standard workday. Suddenly, some jobs are being recognized as valuable when they weren’t before the pandemic. Some companies are realizing how many positions can actually be done remotely. But many are eager for their employees to return to their offices. So, companies are looking for ways to improve productivity and promote the work-life balance many people have discovered during the pandemic. One of these ways is creating a four-day workweek. In fact, many businesses have already shifted the routine to astounding results.

Four-Day Workweek in Practice

Many companies notably changed their routine to the four-day workweek. One is IGO4, a digital insurance company based in Peterborough, England. All of its employees work four days a week instead of five, working an extra hour each day to make up for the lost day with no change in salary. According to chief executive Matt Munro, the pandemic opened up their eyes to different possibilities. 

Going back to old ways of working isn’t right,” Said Munro. “We recognized we had the opportunity to take the positives from our Covid experience and create a new working environment that would make a genuine difference to people’s wellbeing. By giving everyone that day off where they can have me-time and then come back rested, we think we will get more out of them and improve work-life balance.”

Similarly, marketing executive at iGO4, Georgia Prosser, enjoys the new routine. Not only is she making the most of her time off, but she also has no trouble managing her workload during the shortened week.

If you start thinking about efficiency, cutting down meeting times, not attending meetings where you’re not needed – you actually find you get a lot more time back,” she said. [1]

Related: Spain to Become the First Country in the World to Test a 4-day Workweek

The Perks of the New Workweek

One survey of over one thousand Americans found that nine out of ten people think the typical five-day workweek is outdated. Plus, 80% said the pandemic has created their desire for a four-day week, and 98% believe the new routine will help their mental health. [2] However, a four-day workweek can have other benefits, including reducing overhead costs. For instance, it reduces expenses like electricity, energy consumption, office supplies, equipment, janitorial services, and daily perks like free snacks or lunches. In short, it entails one less day a week to pay for. 

Plus, many potential workers choose jobs because of the shorter week, leading to better employee retention. The routine can also increase their productivity and well-being. Essentially, they should be working harder, not smarter. While it may seem counterintuitive, long hours do not mean more work will get done. Instead, it can lead to stress, burnout, and poor work-life balance, which can severely decrease productivity.  [3]

However, keep in mind that the four-day workweek can be interpreted in different ways. Of course, it entails operating four days a week instead of five. But some businesses run 40 hours a week, some 32, all without cut pay; but the main point is that the employees need to finish the same workload.

According to Andrew Barnes, co-founder of the nonprofit 4 Day Week Global, it is “not about work-life balance. This is a very sensible, rational business practice that improves your productivity and profitability by giving your staff more time off.” One of the biggest changes caused by the new routine is cutting the length and among of meetings. Many employees of a four-day workweek state that “Could this meeting be an email?” is a popular mantra.

Read: 8-hour workday is holdover of old ways; research suggests 5 hours is the office time sweet spot

The Flaws

However, this routine also changes break times. Since employees need to finish the same amount of work, there is less time for chit-chat and leisurely conversations. Some people thrive under the quick pace but others felt like it causes heightened stress levels, making the extra day off very much needed. Therefore, it appears that the four-day workweek can be more effective for certain people depending on their optimal work style. However, very few miss the extended meetings and prefer their work time uninterrupted. 

There are some people whose main motivation at work is to get everything done and go home,” said Brendan Burchell, a University of Cambridge sociology professor studying the 4-Day Week Global trials. He added that there are many people who are happiest when they have regular social interactions at work, like parents who don’t get much opportunity to spend time with other adults. ”It’s really important for them to have those coffees or watercooler conversations with their colleagues.”

Plus, there’s the issue of the workload. Unfinished work can spill into the three-day weekend. One manager uses his Friday specifically as a distraction-free workday. Plus, businesses that deal with clients working five-day weeks often need to stay on call on Fridays, meaning it’s not fully a vacation. [4]

So the four-day workweek is not a perfect solution but there is a lot of potential for reduced stress, improved productivity, and better work-life balance. This post-pandemic world presents an ideal opportunity for making drastic changes for the better.

Keep Reading: A CEO who gives his employees $2,000 to go on vacation says people are more productive than ever


  1. “’Four-day working week makes us more productive’.BBC. February 11, 2022
  2. “Do Americans Really Want a Four-Day Work Week? A Survey.” Simple Texting. Drew Wilkinson. September 22, 2021
  3. “Why Companies Should Consider A Four-Day Workweek.Forbes. Caroline Castrillon. October 17, 2021
  4. The 4-Day Week Is Flawed. Workers Still Want It.Wired. Caitlin Harrington. February 3, 2022