Would you accept a 4-day working week?


We had great attraction on our most recent poll from our LinkedIn followers, with almost 2,000 votes and multiple comments. We asked our Cooper Fitch followers, “If your current employer offered you the opportunity to work a 4-day week but you were only paid for those four days, what would you do?”. This question opened up a discussion and we can understand why as there are both benefits and concerns surrounding this topic.


If your employer gave you the opportunity to work a 4-day week with the same pay as you would get for a 5-days working week, your hours were reduced and you had an extra day to yourself, with friends or with family, the majority of us would accept the offer as it would probably give us a better work-life balance but with exact same pay. This is the reason why we did not ask this question as we wouldn’t have been able to gain a proper understanding of how our followers feel about their work-life balance. The 4-day week initiative has been rolled out in several countries and has been trailed in others with results showing that productivity was higher and company costs were lower which suggests that we will be seeing this approach being adopted more and more in the future. There is an idea that this new way of working could benefit everyone going forward to create a better work-life balance for employees however being paid for 5 days worth of work instead of the 4-days you would be reduced to may not be something all companies can achieve.


Some of our voters felt that we shouldn’t ask this particular question as not all individuals have the luxury of being able to take a pay cut which is understandable, others believed that the job that they do is not possible to complete across 4 days and that if they were to only work 4 days then they would end up working additional hours to get jobs done and to meet deadlines, which defeats the point of accepting a reduced working week to benefit your work-life balance. This is all hypothetical of course if your employer hasn’t actually approached you on this matter and we can only assume that if your employer were to present this opportunity to you then they would have taken into consideration all the internal and external factors before offering this to you. Studies have shown that working a 4-day week and paying staff their normal 5-day salaries does in fact increase productivity and reduce company costs however this approach may not be possible for some companies due to many factors such as some employees being quite happy with a 5-day working week and their current work-life balance so it would be subject to each individual employee.


The reason we asked our Cooper Fitch followers the initial question was to see if they felt that they had a good work-life balance and then to see if they wanted a better one. The question was asked in this way to see if people would make the sacrifice and take a pay cut in order to gain one extra day and enhance their work-life balance. This will not be possible for a lot of people but it was interesting to see that 37% of the Cooper fitch followers who voted would actually take the reduced pay and work only 4 days a week if the opportunity was presented to them showing that there are a number of people that feel that working one less day a week even with reduced pay would improve their work-life balance. Individuals know that they have to work and enjoy working but over time people’s priorities do change based on their life situations and those are the people that may choose to make this sacrifice.  63% of people who voted however felt that if they were offered the opportunity by their employer then they would still continue to work the 5 days. This could be due to multiple factors such as some people would not be able to take a reduced salary and other individuals enjoy the 5-day working week.


Many factors come into play when looking into employees shifting to a 4-day week but from our poll, it is clear to suggest that if your current employer offered you the opportunity to work a 4-day week but you were only paid for those four days 37% of people would make that sacrifice to improve their work-life balance and 63% of them would continue to work a 5-day week. As a recruitment, executive search and HR advisory firm Cooper Fitch enjoys conducting polls with our followers as it is very interesting for us to see how they think and what their thoughts are on topical subject matters.