The Pros and Cons of a Four-Day Working Week
The idea of a four-day workweek has become more popular in recent years, but can this arrangement work for your small business? Read on to learn about some of the top pros and cons.
Pro: A shorter workweek can reduce office expenses
A four-day workweek equals automatic savings on utility bills. There’s no need to keep the lights and HVAC system on in an empty office.
Utilities are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cutting expenses. For example, a company that operates under a four-day workweek could easily explore virtual office space. With a virtual office, your company would only pay for the resources it actually needs. It’s like ordering from an à la carte menu, but for office space and services.
If you decide to test a four-day working week and find that you no longer need traditional commercial office space, virtual office spaces are a worthwhile option to consider.
Business owners aren’t the only ones who benefit from reduced expenses, either. Employees will spend less on transportation and other work-related expenses. They might also save on childcare costs and other necessities.
Con: Deadlines can become more difficult
Sometimes, working for a small business means tighter deadlines. Before you try a shortened workweek, think about whether your team will (realistically) be able to meet deadlines. A three-day weekend won’t be appealing if it only leads to stress and frustration.
A shorter week also means less time for meetings and collaboration, which can be problematic for some companies.
Pro: For employees, every weekend will be a long weekend
Employee satisfaction is likely the top benefit of a reduced working week. A two-day weekend often feels far too short, but an extra day frees up time for your team to rest, recharge and handle matters in their personal lives.
Note that this isn’t the only way to make employees happy, though. We’ve written about how small business owners can retain their top talent before (you can read the latest on that topic here).
As you’ll see, there are countless benefits you can offer your team. A four-day workweek is simply another option to consider.
Con: Customer service can become complicated
The State of Utah tested a four-day workweek in 2008, but switched back to five days in 2011. Citizens complained about Friday closures, and the government found that the savings weren’t quite as high as they had hoped.
If the customer service experience will suffer under a shorter working week, this unique arrangement may not be a good idea for your business.
However, it’s also worth noting that providing excellent customer service doesn’t require your team to be in the office every day. Virtual assistants can simplify the way you deliver customer support, and here are some resources you can review to learn more:
- 5 Reasons Customer Support is More Important Than Ever Before
- 4 Things to Look For When Choosing a Phone Answering Service
- Best Practices for Killer Customer Service
- A Look at How Intelligent Office's Virtual Assistants Respond to Customer Calls
The bottom line: Four day work weeks can (potentially) increase productivity
In 2019, Microsoft Japan tested a four-day workweek and found that worker productivity increased by 40%.
Your own mileage will vary, but there’s only one way to find out if a four-day workweek is right for your small business — test it out while carefully tracking productivity and other important metrics.