Just Give Everyone a 4-Day Workweek Already

As thousands of employees begin testing a 4-day workweek the dream moves closer to reality

A man and woman high five at a desk.

As of April 1, select U.S. workers began testing the long-awaited, fervently coveted 4-day workweek (and no this wasn’t an April Fool’s joke). According to CNBC, thousands of workers across the country are taking part in a 6-month experiment and enjoying the first of many Fridays off last week.

The experiment is part of a worldwide effort launched by the 4 Day Week Global program, a nonprofit with ties to the University of Oxford “that help companies execute and measure the impact of a four-day workweek,” according to CNBC.

Thirty-eight companies in the U.S. and Canada, including Kickstarter, are participating in the program this year, which runs from April 1 to September. Companies will go through workshops and receive help from businesses who have already trialed the 4-day workweek, while researchers study changes in productivity and examine employee welfare throughout the trial. And instead of cramming 40 hours of work into 4 days, the majority of businesses participating in the experiment have reduced workweek hours to 32. “The nonprofit calls this a 100-80-100 model: Workers receive 100% of their pay for 80% of the time and maintain 100% productivity,” reports CNBC.

The hope is that, if all goes swimmingly, a 4-day workweek could become tangible for the rest of us. If I was a betting woman (which for the record, I am), I’d say this experiment will likely produce favorable results, since nearly every study conducted on the topic has demonstrated that ditching the traditional 5-day workweek yields positive effects for companies and employees.

Take for example a trial conducted by New Zealand-based company Perpetual Guardian which reduced the workweek by one day. Both employees and managers reported that a diluted schedule improved workplace dynamics and increased collaborative work. Individuals also said they had more time to accomplish tasks in their personal lives that they’d normally put off, had more time to spend with family and more time to reconnect with hobbies and interests outside of work. Other workers who have transitioned to a 4-day workweek reported their “Sunday scaries,” a term used to describe the anticipatory anxiety over the ensuing workweek, have dissipated. All in all, a 4-day workweek would do wonders for employee well-being, while reducing overhead and other costs for employers.

While I’m glad more workers are getting a taste of the 4-day workweek through the 4 Day Week Global program, I am becoming a tad impatient. How many more trials and studies must we conduct until the majority of U.S. companies face the facts, and kick the 5-day workweek to the curb?

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