Will a 4 day work week really work?

In todays business world we are seeing a shift in expectations.

With international research on 4 day working weeks, businesses navigating the hybrid world and working out what to do with their physical office spaces.

One of the errors I see being made by too many leaders and businesses is the coupling of time to effort or impact.

Working harder (longer) doesn’t always make for better outcomes. In fact doubling down on effort can often lead to reduced performance.

Do not mis understand me. Hard work is a pre-requisite of those who want to be great. However, hard work is not always connected to time invested.The evidence…

The evidence…

The evidence coming from the 4 day week seems to show that productivity increases. Absence and sickness declines and overall performance increases. 71% of employees on the trial reported less feelings of burnout.

Whilst reducing the working week has benefits it can’t be implemented without first reviewing your overall work levels and resourcing.

If you take stressed, over worked and under resourced teams who currently work 5 days and try to squeeze this work into 4 what you end up with is just as many hours, and even more stress as people try their hardest to cope! You also end up with 4 days full of meetings and calls and no time to actually work.

We only need to explore most people experience of the recent U.K. bank holidays. On the surface it was great to have several short weeks in a short time. Yet the reality is most of the clients I work with reported feeling more challenged than ever and at least some working on some  of those  “days off”

How should Business Leaders respond?

Before changing the framework of how we operate we first need to review the work that happens within that framework.

We must explore how people are being productive before we start to ask how many hours they need to work. 

Challenging what people include in their working day (meetings, calls, project work, admin tasks etc).

We use a model called the 3D’s and we use them in this order purposefully.

D1 is Dismiss. What can we dismiss from our workload – either through automation or by just challenging why we are doing it.

D2 is delegate. What can we either pass to others in our team or outsource to others who are better placed to do the work.

D3 is Do. What’s left are the things we need to take action on.

Before you even consider a shorter work week invest the time and energy really working through the 3D’s and refine WHAT and HOW you work in your business or team before you evaluate how shortening the week might benefit.

What do you think? Email me at haydn@mindsetleadership.co.uk and share your thoughts…

If you think we can help your business and you would like to get a feel for who we are let’s have a chat.

Scroll to Top


Subscribe To Receive Our Newsletter and Blog: