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Guide Explores Pros and Cons of a Shorter Workweek

February 28, 2023

An online guide recently released by Maryville University of St. Louis dives into the topic of a shorter workweek and its effects on employee productivity, while outlining both the pros and cons to be considered.

According to the guide, the most common reason for companies to move to a four-day workweek is to boost productivity. It also noted a study by cloud software firm Qualtrics, which found that a large majority of workers surveyed (92%) approved of a shorter workweek. That said, 46% worried that it could negatively impact sales, and 55% were concerned that working less days could frustrate a company’s customers.

The guide lists the following benefits and disadvantages to a shorter workweek:

The Benefits of a Shorter Workweek

  • Better work-life balance
  • More employee energy
  • Better employee mental health
  • Recruitment and retention attractiveness
  • Equal or better employee productivity
  • Lower business costs.

The Disadvantages of a Shorter Workweek

  • More employee fatigue and stress, due to fewer available working hours
  • Less coverage on shifts
  • Less employee engagement
  • Not a cure-all for other issues in a company and might not be right for all employees.

The guide also mentions a 2022 U.K. pilot program in which thousands of employees worked just four days a week for six months, with no cut in pay. Released this month, the results of the program, run by the non-for-profit organization 4 Day Week Global, revealed that 71% of the employees who worked less hours had decreased their level of burnout, 40% saw a reduction in sleep difficulties, and 54% were less likely to feel too tired to do household chores. Both resignations and absenteeism decreased during the pilot program, as did the need to hire new employees.

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