The 4-day work week is unreal and undesirable

The 4-day work week is unreal and undesirable

The 4-day work week conundrum, a significant member of the labor force shift, is as much a hot topic as The Great Resignation and hybrid work. But experts are leaning towards scrapping this idea. 

Looking at the economics of the matter, it just won’t work. A report by the Financial Times quotes economic historian Robert Skidelsky saying that “capping working hours nationwide, on the lines of France’s 35-hour working week, is not realistic or even desirable, because any cap needs to be adapted to the needs of different sectors.”

Although the promised benefits of a 4-day work week is enticing when packaged in a manner of looking at the benefits which include improved well being, better focus, fairer sharing of childcare between men and women, and even a lighter carbon footprint. Fear of missing out on the latest trend must not, however, blind companies to important obstacles and drawbacks.

Offsetting the cost of a four-day week at a national level looks hard to achieve. The Wellcome Trust, the science research foundation, decided in 2019 that even a trial would be disruptive, partly because its staff performed a mix of roles. Some jobs were hard to confine to four days. Other employees preferred to spread their work over five days. Part-timers already on a four-day week feared they might lose out.

Lockdowns exposed the gap between flexible home working professionals and front-line “always on” staff. A four-day week might widen it.

Some staff want or need to work extra hours. To the risks of a two-tier workforce and reduced freedom of choice add the danger of overload. 

For each of these objections, advocates have an answer. One is that companies just need to organize staff more efficiently. In itself, better management would improve productivity. Another is to cut working hours, rather than days, allowing greater flexibility. Cumulatively, though, the obstacles present a powerful deterrent.

The trends fuelling workplace innovation are not going away. Automation, a tight labor market, the quest of younger workers for better jobs: all these will encourage employers to differentiate themselves from each other. In due course, these same trends may nudge more organizations, and perhaps eventually governments, to take another step down the long path of reducing working hours.

Read more here. 

Start your
journey today

  • Independent
  • Secure
  • Transparent

Access fantastic talent at world-leading prices

Scale your business fast while reducing costs —
the average all-in employment costs in the
Philippines are typically 70% less than its
Western counterparts

Philippines United Kingdom Australia United States
Software Developer
HR Manager
Team Leader
Copy Writer
Customer Service
Virtual Assistance
Select a role to view salaries
Philippines $7,221
United Kingdom $39,913
Australia $62,653
United States $81,994

Avoid guesswork. Talk to the experts, free.

Get 3 free quotes

You can save 70% on staff costs, whilst driving quality & growth. Connect with an outsourcing expert to see how outsourcing can transform your business.

Why choose us?
  • Independent and unrivalled expertise
  • We carefully match you from 2,300+ leading suppliers
  • Access to Outsourcing Savings Calculator & Report

Get Started

How many staff to outsource?

About OA

Outsource Accelerator is the trusted source of independent information, advisory and expert implementation of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

The #1 outsourcing authority

Outsource Accelerator offers the world’s leading aggregator marketplace for outsourcing. It specifically provides the conduit between world-leading outsourcing suppliers and the businesses – clients – across the globe.

The Outsource Accelerator website has over 5,000 articles, 450+ podcast episodes, and a comprehensive directory with 3,900+ BPO companies… all designed to make it easier for clients to learn about – and engage with – outsourcing.

About Derek Gallimore

Derek Gallimore has been in business for 20 years, outsourcing for over eight years, and has been living in Manila (the heart of global outsourcing) since 2014. Derek is the founder and CEO of Outsource Accelerator, and is regarded as a leading expert on all things outsourcing.