4 Day Work Week: does it live up to the hype?

 Does your current company want to adopt the 4-day week to test how productive the team will be, as well as to attract and retain more talent? Let's check out the main advantages and disadvantages of this model.

The reduced workday, without compromising the salary, has been a success in countries like Iceland, in Northern Europe. Reflecting the pandemic and the popularization of the home office, the reduced workday is seen as an incentive for workers.

Moreover, working one day less in the week, it is expected to reduce the occurrences of Burnout, because the professional can gain more time for leisure activities and sports. However, not all companies and workers are prepared, because there may be an overload of work on weekdays.

Photo by Copernico on Unsplash



When was it created?

Although it may seem new, reduced working hours were already being discussed in 2007. In fact, one of the pioneers on the subject was the American entrepreneur and writer Tim Ferris. He wrote The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich where he brought the main features of the journey, whose name given by the author was “lifestyle design”.

But it was after the Covid-19 pandemic that this model gained more prominence because it is more aligned with home office and hybrid work.

Therefore, this new world of work has gained more adherence from workers. After all, organizations found that a more flexible workday was able to maintain and even improve worker productivity.

What are its impacts?

Economyless traffic, and less pollution are some of the impacts of the 4-day week in the cities. Closed offices represent fewer expenses with electricity, water, telephone, and even the desired coffee break.

With the workers at home, the cars stay in the garages and do not increase traffic on the streets. Thus, the environment is grateful. In fact, a survey carried out in the UK shows that a shorter work week could reduce the carbon footprint by more than 20% by 2025.

How does it affect the worker’s mental health?

A flexible work week is already considered an attractive option for employees. To get an idea, a survey by the IWG (International Workplace Group), which promotes the hybrid working model, found that 83% of professionals are more productive with flexible work schedules.

So you can imagine the positive effects of a 4-day work week on people. This is because one of the complaints of workers is the excessive workload, with busy schedules, endless meetings, goals, and daily pressures.

Moreover, if we think about burnout, which the WHO (World Health Organization) started to consider an occupational disease as of 2022, the 4-day work week can reduce its rate.

One of the only studies of this impact was done by Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand company, which brought the following results after analyzing workers on its team who worked 4 days a week during a test period in 2018:

Who is adopting the 4-day week?

As you have seen, Iceland is one of the countries that has adopted the 4-day work week. But countries like the United Kingdom, Portugal, Canada, the US, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand have already started to test the new model of the working world.

Germany has adopted the part-time model. There, about 15 million people work 30 hours a week. According to HR specialists, they achieve a good balance between their professional and personal life.

Shopify, a Canadian e-commerce company, implemented the 4-day week in the summer two years ago, maintaining the results of the conventional day.

What does Parkinson’s Law have to do with it?

Do you know Parkinson’s Law? It is much older than the 4-day week model, but it is related to it.

First described in 1955 by the English historian Cyril Northcote Parkinson, Parkinson’s Law suggests that one’s workload occupies the totality of the time one has available.

Therefore, according to this view, the same work you would do in 5 days, you would also do in 4. The historian even used data from the British Royal Navy to demonstrate his thesis, which was published in The Economist magazine at the time.


The 4-day week still raises many doubts and discussions on the part of companies and professionals. However, it is important to remember that it is an attempt to improve the climate in organizations and achieve more favorable results for both sides.

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