The Ugly Truth of the 4-Day Work Week

The four-day workweek is dominating career conversations. Major companies around the world are adopting the new adjusted work schedule, with a majority of them citing real benefits to their workforce.

In many aspects, the four-day workweek sounds glamorous: less time spent online or in the office; more time spent on personal activities; three-day weekends every week; a better work-life balance.

And many of the conversations about the four-day workweek focus on these glamorous elements. Workers in Iceland who took on a four-day workweek reported better work-life balance and even a more positive attitude at work. 

Workers in New Zealand with a four-day workweek were 20% more productive than when they worked a full-day workweek.

While the four-day workweek has gotten some buzz because of these positive effects, not everyone’s buzzed about the idea of bringing it to their work life. Many workers worry — reasonably — about time and productivity. 

To them, a four-day workweek sounds more like 40 hours or more condensed into four days; and those days are filled with overwork, struggles to meet deadlines, and even more stress.

Those are the same concerns the company Buffer ran into when adjusting to a four-day workweek. In the first month, most teams focused on how they could cram all of their five-day work into the new four days.

Unsurprisingly, that mindset didn’t work — but Buffer didn’t give up on the four-day workweek.

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