The Global Status Of The 4-Day Work Week Heading Into 2024

four-day work week in 2024
Image Credit: CNBC

The four-day work week is gaining traction worldwide on a number of fronts, privately and publicly. Many organizations have implemented a four-day week in the past few years, some companies are trialing one as we write this, and a handful of countries are proposing legislation for reduced working hours.  

Let’s take a closer look at the status of the four-day work week as 2024 approaches.

Useful Tools For A Four-Day Work Week

When you implement a four-day work week, you’ll likely switch from synchronous work (everyone working at the same time) to asynchronous work (people working at different times) as well. Therefore, most interactions will start to happen digitally (or remotely). 

Here are some useful tools to consider for a shorter, more remote work week:

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): This technology ensures that sensitive company data remains protected as people access company networks remotely. Example: ExpressVPN

Project Management Software: Plan and track tasks and projects in a shared virtual space. Examples: Asana, Trello, and

Video Meetings & Messaging: Meet on video or record a video for a team member to view on their own time. Examples: Zoom (for meetings), Loom (for video messages).

Documents & Storage: Store all of your documents and work in one place online. Example: Google Drive.


The Impact Of A Four-Day Work Week

Trials in the United Kingdom, Iceland, and New Zealand have shown promising results. In the UK, a six-month trial organized by 4 Day Week Global saw various companies transitioning to a 32-hour work week; 92% of the participating companies continued with the new schedule after the six months expired. Employees reported a better capacity to manage work and personal tasks, with a 54% increase in work-life balance. Participating companies also observed a 57% decrease in employee turnover.

Iceland’s efforts in particular were deemed a success. Reports indicated increased morale, reduced burnout, and unchanged productivity levels. Consequently, 86% of Iceland’s workforce works fewer hours or is in negotiations to do so.

These findings are not isolated. In an eight-week trial, New Zealand’s Perpetual Guardian reported increased leadership and commitment levels among employees, along with reduced stress. The success of these trials points to a growing global momentum towards adopting a four-day work week model.


Pros Of A Four-Day Work Week

Increased Productivity: A standout benefit of the four-day work week is the boost in productivity. Contrary to initial skepticism, studies have shown that employees can maintain (or even surpass!) their productivity levels with one less working day. This uptick in efficiency is often attributed to a more focused work approach.

Reduced Operational Costs: Running an office one less day each week can lead to reduced energy consumption, lower maintenance expenses, and decreased need for ancillary services like cleaning and catering. These lower costs can accrue over time, resulting in significant savings for a business.

Elevated Employee Morale: The addition of a regular three-day weekend greatly improves employee morale. Why? Employees have more time to themselves — time to rest, pursue their interests, and spend time with family — which leads to a happier workforce. A happier workforce, by the way, often translates into lower absenteeism and a more committed team.

Healthier Work-Life Balance: The increase in morale goes hand-in-hand with a better work-life balance. When employees have more time to manage personal responsibilities and relax, they tend to perform better at work.

Attraction & Retention Of Talent: Flexible working arrangements can help businesses attract top talent. It’s also valuable for retaining employees who appreciate the added flexibility and time off.

Environmental Effects: A Platform London report from May of 2021 indicated that decreased commuting and office energy use could lead to a 30% reduction in carbon emissions. Even a modest 10% reduction in working hours could lead to a 14.6% decrease in emissions.

See our full list of four-day work week benefits.


Cons Of A Four-Day Work Week

Scheduling Difficulties In Various Industries: The four-day work week may be difficult for businesses that must be available to customers throughout the week — retail comes to mind immediately. Staggering employee schedules is a potential answer, but that can lead to its own challenges.

On top of that, 24/7 industries like healthcare and law enforcement will likely need to hire new staff and work out staggered schedules to ensure full coverage is maintained — which could offset the cost savings from operational reductions.

Potential Overwork: While the intention is to reduce hours, employees may end up cramming more work into their four days. The longer hours can lead to increased stress and burnout — negating the extra day off.

Customer Service Concerns: If all employees take the same day off, gaps in service availability may impact customer satisfaction.


Companies Embracing A Four-Day Work Week

Numerous companies are either implementing the four-day work week or running pilot programs, including:

  • Amazon
  • Basecamp
  • Bolt
  • Ecosia
  • Panasonic
  • Samsung
  • ThreadUP

In addition, Kickstarter has noted productivity gains from this shift, and Microsoft Japan observed a 40% increase in productivity.

These companies and many others are leading the way in a shift towards more flexible and efficient work practices.

For a complete list, check out our database of 300+ four-day companies.


The Four-Day Workweek Bill

Legislatively, the four-day work week is also making headway. Rep. Mark Takano introduced the 32 Hour Workweek Act, which proposes reducing the standard work week for non-exempt workers from 40 to 32 hours.


Wrapping Up

The four-day work week is about much more than just an extra day off. It’s a total reimagining of work-life balance, productivity, and employee well-being. As trials continue and more data becomes available, this model may redefine the future of work and offer a blueprint for a happier, more sustainable workforce.

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