Written by: Jacqui Sealy – The Pro Forum Community of Practice

Who wouldn’t want to work less and have more free time, but is moving to a four-day working week as good as it sounds? Since the start of COVID-19, the five-day work week has been deemed not fit-for-purpose with people working longer hours than pre-pandemic and they are feeling more stressed now than they did before.

Nowadays, workplaces are striving to provide more options for their employees with work-from-home flexibility in some organisations and additional leave for employees to use to provide that balance between work and their personal lives. With more people reluctant to return to the workforce at full capacity, we are now promising that a four-day work week will be the answer to solving the work-life balance problem.

It sounds great when you think about it, that you will be working 4 days and then having 3 days off from work each week, however the reality is not what you think.  It is expected that you put in 100% of your work productivity in exchange for 80% of a 5-day working week, and not work 80% of a working week and putting in only 80% of your work productivity as a result. That means instead of working 8 hours per day, you are expected to work 10 hours each day for 4 days to make up for a shorter working week and putting in 100% of your productivity. Companies don’t want to pay their employees more just to do less, so it is unrealistic to expect that you will be better off with a shorter week.

Wouldn’t this increase stress in people even more by working longer days just to get that one day off each week? Right now, most of you are already away from home at least 10 hours each day when you include travel to and from work.  This means, for those with families and young children, you’ll never get to see your kids four days a week, you will miss bath time, dinner together, and maybe tucking them in at night when you are working 10-hour days plus travel time. Personally, a four-day week will stress me out so much more than the traditional five-day working week.


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