Would a four-day workweek make people more or less productive?
November 14, 2019 9:37PM
Trials of four-day weeks have had both results, so there’s no simple answer.
In August of 2019, Microsoft Japan conducted a test where they moved 2,300 office workers to a four-day workweek for one month in an effort to improve efficiency. The report they released this November stated that there was a 39.9 percent increase overall in sales per worker, with 92 percent of the workers responding positively to the change.
Another positive example comes from a San Francisco-based software company called Monograph. In 2016, it implemented a four-day workweek where employees can choose which day they want to take off. Moe Amaya, one of Monograph’s cofounders, told HuffPost that so far it’s been very successful and that there are "no plans to change, potentially ever."
While there are numerous other studies and examples citing the potential benefits of a shorter workweek, most agree that the resistance from American companies to adopt the practice comes down to habit and the bottom line—a four-day workweek could put companies at a competitive disadvantage to those still working the traditional five.
One notable failure of the four-day workweek was when a U.S. programming education company called Treehouse tried it in 2015. They went back to 40-hour weeks just a year later.
"There was a lack of work, like, literally a lack of work ethic," Treehouse founder Ryan Carson later said to explain the decision.