What Would You Do for a 4-Day Work Week?

With high gas prices, employees are struggling to meet the increasing cost of simply getting to and from work. And businesses are paying attention. There are stories of some employers getting creative, using incentives to help employees pay for gas. It’s all over the news how employers in some fields are meeting worker demands by offering a 4-day work week. The idea is to fit a 40-hour week into four 10-hour days so employees have one less day a week to travel to work.

But when it comes to business, a 4-day work week isn’t quite as simple as that. In fact, most places that have gone to a 4-day work week are government or non-profit entities. Some businesses face complications like losing profits and customer service by operating just 4 days a week.

The truth is, every benefit they add costs employers cash they have to make up for somewhere else. When you think about it in those terms, how important is saving money on gas to you in the big picture? Just how valuable is that extra day off each week?

Comments

  1. Ann

    Why would I have to give up anything? As long as I put my hours in, that should be enough. This is the first I’ve heard anyone suggest giving up anything for a four day work week. Four ten hour days seems fair enough. It’s not unheard of. Three twelves is also not unheard of. I think it should simply be an option if possible.

  2. Tiffany | Express Job Blogger

    @ Ann – This is a great comment, and it really illustrates just how complicated the idea of a 4-day work week really is.
    From a worker perspective, putting in your 40 hours should be good enough, right? Well, the point is, things just aren’t that simple for employers across the board.
    Here’s an example. If your employer has set hours, say 8-5, how do they operate their business if their staff is there from, say, 7-6 four days a week? In many instances, this would burt business. So, one solution might be to increase your open hours and have people alter which 4 days they are there. That way, you would have people there 5 days a week. This works ok in some situations, but you must also realize that it means to maintain necessary staff levels across all days you are open, you will have to employ a larger number of people. Add to that the fact that you will need to have supervisors or managers there whever staff are, and you’re increasing the hours demanded from that bunch up to nearlt 50 hours a week! All that costs money.
    Now, there are some benefits to the employer in this example (they are open longer hours, and presumably could get more business). But first, your employer has to be able to afford to make the investment, because the change has its costs. So, depending on employer size, industry, market, etc. it’s just not an option every employer can consider right now. Especially since the costs of doing business are already increasing.
    Every employer will face different issues. And for some, especially those with longer operating hours, or in certain industries, it’s not that big of a leap. So sure, in that instance, you should be able to put in your time, even if it’s over fewer days, without sacrificing anything else.
    My point is not that workers should have to give something up to have a 4-hour work week. Obviously, that is not ideal to employers or workers.
    My point is simply that not all businesses or employers are created equal. And as employees, we have to realize all the factors that come into play in reality when it comes to benefits like these.
    And the question is just really a hypothetical scenario designed to make you think: I mean really, what would it be worth to you to have three day weekends? What would you give for that if it were YOUR decision instead of your employers?

  3. Quinton

    I WORK A 4-DAY WORK WEEK. MY EMPLOYER OPERATES 24-7. IT’S GOOD TO HAVE THREE DAYS OFF, BUT THE HOURS AREN’T ALWAYS THERE. OUR SCHEDULE ROTATES. I LIKE IT FOR THE MOST PART BECAUSE I GO TO WORK VERY EARLY(4AM). THEY’RE A DISTRIBUTION COMPANY AND THE WORK VARIES FROM TIME TO TIME.

  4. nam vet

    Why not Break Up work week, I.E. still give people the chance to work a 4 day work week, but rotate the days off so every one has a chance for holidays

  5. john spears

    4-day work week would be really nice considering fuel costs i would give more time with family and friends im up for the vote but i wouldnt really do me any good if i aint working for express but if i get the job thats even better……

  6. DUANE OPCZYNSKI

    4 DAY WEEK IS NOT FOR ME. I AM NOT SITTING IN A CUBICLE ALL DAY OR WALKING AROUND WITH A PIECE OF PAPER IN MY HAND. I DO WHAT THEY CALL WORK. WHERE I WORK THEY HAVE BEEN DOING 4 X 10 FOR 10 YEARS NOW. FOR WHAT EVER REASON, ALL THESE GUYS LIVE LIKE 60 MILES AWAY AND THEY ALL LIKE TO WATCH FOOTBALL LATE SUNDAY NIGHT SO THEY DONT WANT TO GET UP 3AM TO BE THERE AT 5AM. NOT FOR ME . I TRIED IT AND YOU JUST LAY AROUND FRIDAY RECUPERATING FOR THE 4 10S. I HAVE A LIFE EVERYDAY AND LOVE GETTING OFF AT 1:30PM. I GOT A DOCTORS EXCUSE AND TOLD THEM TO SHOVE IT. FIND A JOB CLOSE TO HOME. ALLWAYS LIVE EAST OF WHERE YOU WORK. WHY DO YOU HAVE A BIG SUV? BECAUSE THEY ARE GREAT. I HAVE ONE TOO. YOU HAVE TO PAY TO PLAY. GET RID OF YOUR CREDIT CARD. IF YOU GOT PAID IN CASH AND AT THE EXIT GATE AT WORK, THEY STOPPED YOU AND TOOK AWAY THE CASH FOR TAXES AND WHAT NOT, WE WOULD ALL BE MARCHING ON D.C. NORTH AMERICAN UNION, YEA RIGHT. I AINT JOINING WITH ANYBODY.

  7. Tiffany | Express Job Blogger

    @ Quinton – Thanks for sharing. It’s always great to see what it’s like in real practice.
    @ Bill – Let potential employers know that you’re open to a schedule like this! There are many types of organizations that offer more flexible options like this, but if you hold out for one exclusively, it may make your job search drag out longer.
    @ Nam Vet – I think ideally, this is the way most companies and organizations do it. But as I mentioned to Ann, we’re talking about the issue in pretty broad terms, and that arrangement just doesn’t work out for every type of employer. So it’s important to consider those things when applying for jobs if this is an imporant search criteria for you.
    @ John – I agree, it would be nice to have more time to spend with family and friends, but the No. 1 concern is first having a job 🙂 It’s easy to debate things like a 4-day week in theory, but there are more important things when the rubber meets the road.
    @ Duane – It’s interesting that you bring up how much tougher it is to actually work 4-10 hour days. That’s definitely something to keep in mind. Plus, like you mention, you will be getting off work later each day, so yes, maybe you would have three days off, but you wouldn’t have much time to enjoy the rest of the days each week.
    Thanks for all the great comments! Looking forward to more great debate!

  8. Mary Jane

    I agree with Ann. I think the employers would find that employees would achieve and complete more work in four days,than in five. Employees should not have to give up anything, when the main motivation for a 4 day week, is gas and electrical prices. Employees should not have to pay out of their paycheck for things that are outside their control. Look at American airlines for example. Their employees bailed the company out, only to have their retirement cut, and jobs lost, while the executives reap millions in profits.

  9. Connie

    The four day work week sounds great but what about the parents who have children in daycares and school(s)?

  10. Tiffany | Express Job Blogger

    @ Ann – Great point, Mary Jane. I agree that employees shouldn’t have to give anything up for a four-day week. The question’s really just to get us thinking about all the implications that go into the decision employers have to make. For many larger employers, these concerns may not be huge. But think about small and medium sized businesses. When the rubber meets the road for them, even small investments in capital to make things like this work can be a huge point of conisderation!
    @ Connie – This has been an interesting point of debate on the 4-day work week that’s been passed for many governments. It seems as though this could create a lot of financial difficulties for parents who would incur additional childcare costs for longer daycare, for example.
    Thanks for joining the discussion, ladies! It’s an interesting subject that I think deserves thoughtful consideration of all the different factors.

  11. Ashlie

    I don’t believe that an employee should have to give something up for a 4/10 schedule. My husband has been working such a schedule for years now. His employer actually saves money since it can have more employees in a smaller space with fewer work stations and less equipment.
    Plus, there is the added benefit that employess who feel that thier needs are being addressed and dealt with are more likely to work harder and stay with the company longer. How much does high turnover cost the average company each year?

  12. Lisa

    I’ve worked the 4-10 hour day shift and enjoyed it. The only drawback I encountered was other employees calling in “sick” so that I had to fill in their hours. The 5-10 hour day is not much fun!

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