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What are the benefits of a four-day workweek?

What are the benefits of a four-day workweek?
What are the benefits of a four-day workweek? 03:06

MINNEAPOLIS — There was no holiday this weekend, but there's a chance many of you had three days off.

A survey of 100 CEOs found that nearly a third of them are exploring the idea of a four-day, or four-and-a-half-day, workweek.

If fresh air, sunshine, and a hands-on connection to nature sound nice to you, there's a job opening at Home Sown Gardens based in Eagan.

"The labor is very intense that we do," said owner Tami Gallagher. 

But with that hard work comes an extra day of rest since full-time staff work four 10-hour days. 

"It could be they work four in a row or it could be that they have two on, two off. It really just varies," she said of her staff that helps manage gardens and landscaping for homeowners.

So why is Gallagher's business model conducive to a four-day workweek? 

"Most of our work is done between the months of April and November," said Gallagher. 

As gardeners, the staff must take advantage of daylight. That means working longer hours but fewer days.


From home gardens to work-from-home, Mike Arney's team at Halftone Digital, a company that creates apps, works Monday through Thursday.   

"I think we might be getting more done in 32 hours than we were at 40," Arney said. "I think we're in a realy, honestly a pretty privileged position just working within the digital field. It allows this level of flexibility."

What prompted a change to a four-day workweek? Arney said the pandemic was the turning point. Staff started working from home, a model that has persisted. 

"We realized that we could be just as efficient working from home," he said. 

Whether working four days out of necessity or realized opportunity, both businesses feel the benefit of a three-day weekend.

"I think, you know, 'work-hard play-hard' is kind of our motto," said Gallagher, adding that her staff still get home in time for dinner due to starting their days at 6:30 a.m.

"It's true work-life balance, in my opinion," said Arney.

In 2022, 61 companies participated in a trial by switching to a four-day workweek model for six months.

Some were Monday to Thursday, while others sprinkled the third day off where possible. In the end, 92% of the companies continued using a four-day work week, many of them permanently.

The trial also found that workers felt less stress and burnout, productivity held steady or slightly improved, and worker retention improved.

"We do not struggle to hire," said Gallagher.

Overwhelmingly, 89% of U.S. workers want a four-day workweek. But only 12% say it's an option at their employer.

"I just think there's an inherent hesitation to do something that is seemingly just so drastic," said Arney. 

He recognizes not every sector, such as education, can so easily switch to four days or split up work days across a longer week, like Home Sown Gardens. But for those in which it might be possible, he asks, why not try?

"I think that there's a lot that can be done with pilot programs for maybe even just a month to say like OK, what does this really look like in affecting our bottom line? What does this look like towards morale?" he said.

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