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The Four-day Workweek Is Suddenly Catching On. Here’s why

Among the current catastrophe that is Covid-19, yet another new business trend is starting to emerge: more and more companies are beginning to offer a four-day workweek.

Data from jobs marketplace, ZipRecruiter, shows that in 2020 so far, the number of company’s offering a four-day workweek has increased to 69 for every 10,000 job postings compared to 40 for every 10,000 in 2019.

While the numbers are still obviously low, and a four-day workweek is far from the norm, that is a total increase of more than 70 percent. 

In a pre-covid environment, a company offering a four-day workweek represented that they cared more about their employees’ results than their time invested. Now, offering a shorter workweek is two-fold: 

  1. It’s an easy way to cut costs without slashing pay or making layoffs.
  2. It may finally be a dawning understanding that people work best with their own schedule, not one that is built around social norms and expectations. As Julia Pollak from ZipRecruiter added, “Companies may be realizing that they can get five days’ worth of work done in four.”

The next question is: Will this trend outlast the crisis?

It currently  appears to be a temporary experiment. Right now, it serves a useful purpose as many companies are facing an economic downturn. However, once economic activity returns to normal, you could expect staff hours to do the same as companies readjust to demand.  

Although by that time, many employees may never want to go back working 5 days again.  

Even so, it’s unlikely that this trend will move beyond office jobs as in more hands-on industries like construction and personal care, hours-in generally correlates with productivity-out.