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Considerations to take into account when adopting a four-day week

Now the real work begins: figuring out what a four-day workweek will look like in practice for your organization. The considerations range from HR and technology to culture and communication. This list of questions can get the conversation started when you’re determining how a four-day week can work for you.

Schedule options¹

“Fridays off”:  The entire organization shuts down operations on the same day.

Staggered:  Staff take alternating days off. For example, half of employees are off Mondays and half are off Fridays, so operations continue on all five weekdays.

Decentralized:  Different departments use different schedules.

Annualized:  Workweeks average out to 32 hours a week over the course of the year, with different schedules seasonally in recognition of busy/slow periods.


How does the organization currently measure performance/productivity? It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel when introducing a four-day workweek—rely on existing metrics to evaluate the amount of work getting done.


   •   Meetings:  Make shorter, less frequent, and with clear agendas and goals

   •   Email etiquette:  Set expectation for concision, clarity, and including only the necessary staff

   •   Uninterrupted work time:  Introduce designated periods for staff to work independently

   •   “Monotasking”:  Encourage blocks of time dedicated to a single task to decrease time wasted on switching tasks

HR & payroll

   •   How will PTO accrual rates be affected?
   •   How will holidays be treated when they fall on a day off?
   •   What changes are necessary to program into timekeeping systems?
   •   How will part-time employees and contractors be handled?
   •   In union environments, what will be the process for communicating the changes to the union, soliciting feedback, and earning buy-in?

Customer service

  •   When do customers expect to be able to reach a staff member, and how long are they willing to wait to receive a response?
  •   What work processes must happen on a
certain day or at a certain time, and how many employees are necessary to carry them out?
  •   If employees’ days off are staggered, will staff be
delayed by other employees’ absence?

IT & systems

  •   How can existing or new systems contribute automation and alleviate demands on staff? How can technology be used to decrease time on unnecessary tasks?
  •   What systems currently cause the most
help desk tickets from staff? How can the organization cut down on unproductive staff time spent waiting for technical assistance?
  •   What behavioral nudges can be built into calendar systems to
protect productive work time (e.g., blocks of time during which meetings can’t be scheduled, or inability to schedule meetings over a certain length)?

Culture & communication

  •   How will the organization transition from a culture of prizing time at a desk to valuing the work being done?
  •   Which members of leadership, management, or the workforce may be hesitant about or resistant to the change, and why? How can their concerns be addressed?
  •   Whom will employees contact with questions? What
communication mechanism will be used to ensure consistency of responses and a common understanding of policies and procedures?

If the four-day workweek is implemented in your organization, what will success look like?

Formulating an answer (or, more likely, many answers) to this overarching question is vital, since it equips you with a destination. Now you just need the road map to get there.

A group of smiling employees gathered in a meeting
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