What is a Four-Day Week?

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco
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The four-day week is a new concept that is becoming popular at many large companies. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. in Japan is a good example of a top company that has introduced the four-day week with total success. Metropolitan Life in the US has also implemented the four-day week, and large companies such as IBM and Chrysler Corp. are testing the system in some of their plants.

As the name implies, a four-day week means working four days rather than the common five days most employees are used to. Working four days does not mean working any less, as employees are asked to do four ten-hour days rather than five eight-hour days. The total number of hours worked in a week is still 40, and the salary remains the same.

The four-day week has advantages and disadvantages for both the employee and the company owner, although experts agree that the arrangement makes sense in most cases. Here is a quick overview of what a four-day week entails:


  • Free time. Working four days gives employees more than 50 additional free days every year to use for their own activities, hobbies, and personal lives. This may also benefit the employer significantly, as workers will be less likely to miss work days to run personal errands.
  • Longer hours at the office would keep employees out of the roads during rush hour. This would mean a shorter and less stressful commute time, less time spent on the road, and lower parking fees.


  • In companies that deal with the public, a four-day week may mean fewer employees are present to deal with the customers. This can be improved by employees working on different days, so a group can have Mondays off while the other can have Fridays off.
  • Working ten-hour days continuously can get stressful and draining. Some companies are concerned that longer working hours may reduce the productivity of the workers.
  • A four-day week may require longer babysitting time, which would mean additional expenses for the parents. Some babysitting services may charge more for evening hours than for regular daytime hours.

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Discussion Comments

I feel like we are too committed to the five days, forty hours model of working. I can understand for the purposes of business why certain hours need to be standardized and people need to be in the office at certain times of the day. But there is a lot of room for flexibility that goes underutilized.

Why can't more people work a four day week? Why could others not work a 6 day week if they chose. Why can't more people telecommute? I feel like we have chained ourselves to these old fashioned ideas about when and where people work but they don't really reflect the human experience in the 2000s.


My parents ran a small cabinet making business and it operated on a four day work week. They often ended up working on the fifth day but of course all the guys got overtime pay for that fifth pay. It ended up working out well for everyone. The employees tended to be more productive and because of all the overtime morale stayed high.


I actually only work a three day week right now. My strict schedule has me working on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The rest of the week is my own to do with as I please.

I have responsibilities and things I need to get done on those days off but I do not have to go into the office or put on my work clothes. As a matter of fact, on those off days I usually work in the middle of the night while sipping on a beer. I get just as much done as I ever did, I can just do it on my own schedule.


50 additional days off per year. Is there any support for this in the government sector?


At one point I had four day work week, and I really liked it as did my coworkers.

Companies also benefit, since there seems to be fewer sick days, and since employees tend to like that schedule, there is less employee turnover.

I think three days off gives enough time to catch up with family issues, and more time to rest and rejuvenate.

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