What is

4-day Workweek


A four-day workweek is a new work model adopted by some regions & companies. Instead of working for 5 days & resting for two days, companies operate for 4 days.

As many seek more work-life balance, a 4-day week sounds like a dream. As many seek more work-life balance, a 4-day week sounds like a dream. Instead of working the standard workweek of five days resting for two days, employees work for four days a week and rest for three.

This model has been a source of much contention in recent years. Some are worried about lowering productivity and company losses. Meanwhile, others are claiming that 4-day work weeks lead to increased productivity and happiness.

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of 4-day work weeks and how the implementation has fared in several countries.

Pros of a 4-Day Workweek

As an employee, a 4-day work week has obvious advantages. But employers may also benefit. Here are some of the benefits of working for four days instead of five.

Improved work-life balance
Having an additional day off is a dream for many. Many of us know the feeling of having little time left for ourselves after chores and social obligations. With an extra day, employees have more time for hobbies, family, leisure, and rest. This balance is great for employee happiness and well-being.

Increased productivity
Studies have shown that working fewer days a week may increase productivity. Having more rest gives people clarity and prevents burnout. It also reduces stress and increases motivation, improving focused work and concentration.

Enhanced mental health
Struggles with mental health have been at the forefront of the news in recent years. Having more rest time can reduce stress levels, burnout, and work-induced exhaustion. Employees can choose to spend their extra day off on self-care, to relax, and promote their well-being. And for employers, happy staff means better outcomes.

Attraction and retention of talent
Even in a tepid market, recruiting and retaining top talent can be challenging. Companies looking to attract the best employees need to compete. Offering a 4-day work week can be an unbeatable benefit to onboard and retain amazing workers.

Cons of a 4-Day Workweek

There is a flip side to everything. 4-day work weeks are no exception. There are several challenges that may arise for companies and employees looking to pursue this model.

Reduced income
Some employers have suggested that 4-day work weeks should come with lower pay. Even though the model isn’t meant to reduce productivity or outcomes, employees fear seeing lower salaries for shorter work weeks.

Operational challenges
As with any new work model, implementing a shorter work week requires companies to carefully plan rollout. They must ensure that customers receive the same support. Also, global companies may find it difficult to line up schedules across different jurisdictions.

Longer working days
One of the ways companies are implementing a 4-day work week is to add 2 working hours per day. So, instead of working for eight hours, employees work for ten. This can be exhausting, and employees may struggle to maintain focus.

Difficulty in coordination
With less time online, teams may find it difficult to coordinate their schedules. Setting up meetings, aligning times for collaboration, and client interactions would need careful consideration before implementing a 4-day work week.

Countries Embracing the 4-Day Workweek

There are several countries that are either experimenting with or have adopted the 4-day work week. Here is what they are reporting so far. 


The Belgian government introduced a labor reform in early 2022, allowing for a 4-day work week. The new model states that workers can choose to work four days a week for ten hours per day. Alternatively, they can stick to the standard 5-day workweek. 


Iceland was one of the first countries to roll out a 4-day workweek pilot on a large scale. The trial demonstrated increased well-being and happiness among workers. Today, most Icelandic workers can choose to work four days instead of five. 


Another country to have seen successful results in 4-day work weeks is Japan. Many large companies in the country have tried and even permanently switched to shorter work weeks. Companies reported increased productivity and improved employee well-being. 

South Africa

The country is trialing a 4-day work week where employees work 80% of the time and receive 100% of pay for 100% output. About 500 people are participating in South Africa’s pilot

Several others are also trialing the new work model. This includes New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK

Navigate Change with Borderless

With ever-changing laws around standard working hours and other labor code details, it can be daunting to hire a global workforce. But with Borderless, it’s easy. We stay in the know about the latest regulations anywhere in the world, so you don’t have to. 

Book a demo to learn more.