Many companies have been trialling a 4 day working week with no loss of pay. It sounds great (especially for employees), but is it all it’s cracked up to be? 

We’ve put together the pros and cons of a 4 day working week, to help you decide: 


1) Attract & retain valued employees 

As businesses continue to face financial pressures due to rising costs and inflation, a four day working week with no loss of pay, is seen as a great alternative benefit to a pay rise. 

63% of the 70 UK businesses who participated in the world’s largest 4 day week trial (run by non-profit organisation, 4 Day Week Global) found a 4 day week was a great incentive to attract new employees. By adopting a 4 day week these businesses also experienced a reduced number of resignations and were able to successfully retain their talent.  

2) Increase productivity  

With less time available, staff tend to plan their weeks out better and work more efficiently. Staff have shorter meetings, and make full use of video calls instead of travelling to meetings, to save time.  

The trial positively showed that although people were working fewer hours, 95% of the companies said productivity improved or remained the same, after implementing the 4 day working week. Staff also reported they had better levels of concentration over the 4 days.  

3) Improve well-being 

A 3 day weekend offers a better work-life balance, something many employees have been striving to achieve since the Covid pandemic broke out.  

Researchers at Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University measured the impact a shorter week had on wellbeing. They found physical and mental health improved and job satisfaction levels increased. With 78% of employees working 4 day weeks being happier and less stressed. 

4) Fewer absences 

The boost to staff well-being meant businesses found sickness and absenteeism reduced. With 62% of businesses saying their staff called in sick less often. 

The better work-life balance also helped to reduce the risk of burnout. As 70% of businesses said their staff were less stressed and 78% said their employees were happier. 

5) Opportunity to upskill 

Employees really benefit from the extra leisure time, using it productively as an opportunity to learn new skills, study for professional qualifications, go to networking events and public speaking classes. 

Other businesses found giving additional training to boost their employee’s skill sets encouraged faster working. 

6) More sustainable 

With less frequent commutes to the office, working a 4 day week will reduce carbon emissions, as well as lower energy consumption in the office, helping to reduce your business’ overall carbon footprint.  

This is much better for the environment and demonstrates your corporate social responsibility, leading to a much more sustainable future. 


1) Unmanageable workload 

Although the concept of working 4 day weeks seems great, some employees found it hard to manage the workload within the shortened time.  

43% of employees participating in the trial worked above their contracted hours. However in 71% of cases, it only added an additional 2 hours. 

2) Risk of burnout 

Although working fewer days was intended to reduce the risk of burnout, some found the intensity of working on fewer days just as stressful, which offset any gains of having an additional day off. 

3) Negative impact on workplace culture 

With fewer hours in the week, some businesses were concerned there would be less time for collaboration, sharing knowledge and socialising, which could impact the workplace environment. 

To address this businesses would need to look at team building and social activities to boost morale. 

4) Added costs 

To enable teams to work quickly and effectively, you may need to put additional infrastructure in place. This will make it easy for teams to share information and continue to deliver an outstanding service. 

These additional costs would need to be considered before fully transitioning to a 4 day working week. 

5) Limited availability 

A 4 day working week may not be practical or feasible for all businesses, it will depend on the nature of your business and its demands. This should be considered carefully. 

Reducing operating hours may negatively impact customer experience and damage reputations of companies who currently offer 24/7 support. Similarly, businesses that experience seasonal peaks, may not be able to sustain reduced hours all year round.   

6) Reduced productivity 

Although many businesses found 4 day working weeks actually increase productivity, some businesses remain concerned that with fewer working days staff will be less productive.  

So this doesn’t become an issue, businesses will need to implement the right processes and workflows. This will help to maintain optimal productivity levels despite the reduced workdays. 

How LeavePlanner can help 

Whether you want to trial a 4 day week, or transition fully, LeavePlanner will help you effectively manage employee working hours, working patterns and schedules. 

With full reporting functionality, LeavePlanner will help you monitor absences, as well as manage holidays and shift timetables for cover staff, to ensure correct staffing levels. 

For a free no obligation 30 day trial, call Steve on 01252 636 070 or email 

Pssst! Check out our new all-in-one system, HR Planner, which incorporates an easy-to-use leave management solution, designed specifically with SMEs in mind. 

*Featured image by on Freepik.


For any queries, call Steve on 01252 636 070 or email