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.