While there’s no cut and dried rule for how a four-day week would work, some suggest the most sensible option is to add an extra hour or two to each of the other workdays to compensate for lost time.
According to FlexJobs’ Rachel Jay, a career writer, that could be a “boon” for workers’ productivity, providing them with “longer stretches of uninterrupted time to work.”
However, Adam Edwards, business director (Singapore) of global recruitment firm Hays, noted that “pressure on individuals to achieve the same output in four days as they have done previously in five could have a negative impact on stress levels.”
There are concerns about other negative implications, too. For instance, some have suggested a shorter workweek could hamper wages and potentially cause friction among professions that are less able to adapt, such as many manufacturing and medical roles.
To manage those issues, Link said employers would have to think carefully about how they structure the work schedule and communicate that to staff.
“The challenge is making sure productivity doesn’t slip and that employees remain accountable to their bosses, customers, etc.,” said Link.
“As with any flexible work arrangement, misunderstandings are best avoided through regular, clear communication. Being upfront about expectations for employees with a four-day workweek — for example, is someone still ‘on call’ to respond to customer inquiries? — goes a long way toward keeping everything running smoothly,” he added.