The Argument for the Four Day Work Week

By Dil-Dominé Jacobe Leonares

The Problem

Developing an innovative work environment requires that you toss the current business structure in the bin. The typical Monday-through-Friday workweek, the one of slaving away for (sometimes more than) 40 hours a week is causing people to burn out, lose motivation to be part of the work environment, resulting in companies’ best talent to search for new endeavors elsewhere.

So how do you get people to perform at their best, while utilizing their creative intentions to innovate with passion? How do business managers develop an environment to motivate employees?

Companies don’t take into consideration the amount of time their employees are putting into work. We, as a society, need to rethink the way we structure our businesses to ensure that employees can give 100% performance in all aspects their time.

The Solution

Skills vary from person to person. We are all passionate about very different things. We all pursue different goals. But in the end, we all want the best in everything we do.

Taking that into consideration, businesses should implement a four-day workweek, dedicating that fifth day to self-development. It’s an idea inspired by Daniel Pink’s new book, Drive.

At my business, I found that I wanted my partners and employees to go out and dedicate a day to revitalizing themselves, learning something new, brainstorming amazing concepts not pertaining to client work and helping the company innovate itself. Now, after every day off, they have to present something to the group. This day of rest, in turn, helps the individual, the group and the company as a whole.

Government offices have tested this new workweek, often calling it “4/10,” but I don’t know that anyone has tried setting this fifth day aside for development. In my opinion, this formula works and will help companies retain talent, return employee investment and innovate new products, services and solutions.

The Benefits

Training your employees to develop public speaking skills and helping them grow through research while gaining new knowledge are just a few of the benefits of this shortened workweek.

As a group, employees can learn something new and grow together. If you keep your ideas to yourself, you limit your chances to invent something new and great. But if you let your ideas out into the world (or the office), you can harness the power of that group’s collective mind, which, in turn, will hopefully spark a thought to complete your idea.

The company as a whole can retain top-performing employees, getting the investment they made in that person back tenfold, as well as gaining access to new ideas and the ability to implement innovation in the work place.

The Formula

Since 40 hours a week cannot truly measure an individual’s performance, we will replace the nine-to-five job with this structure:

The New Workweek: Monday-Thursday = (4) 10-hour days + Friday = “Development Day”

On Friday, employees have the option to continue their work in-house or pursue personal development outside the office. They can run errands, clean their car, fix leaking pipes, go to the library, come into the office, etc. There are no boundaries, the only request that they spend at least one or two hours focusing on expanding their knowledge or continuing research or a project.

Come Monday, set aside a two-hour (or so) block for the group to present their “findings.” In the morning, when ideas are fresh, is generally the best time.

Photo by rustybrick

Next Great Posts labeled as Next Great are generally submissions by various contributors, whose information can be found within the text of the article. Next Great posts without author information are the collective effort of the editorial staff: Christine Peterson, Alex Pearlman and Edward Boches.

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3 Responses to “The Argument for the Four Day Work Week”

  1. bill

    It sounds like you just raised the amount of hours Americans have to work. the labor movement literally lost lives fighting for the 40-hour work week, which still is higher than many other industrialized nations. Now I have to do my 40 hours in 4 days and am compelled to give some more time on Friday?

    Why not make it 4 7.5 hour days + 2.5 hours on Friday.

    Did you really just advocate making the average American workers–already burdened with stagnant wages, horrendous benefits and the worst vacation packages of any country in the world–to work more?


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