'I would never go back': Why people love the 4-day workweek, which companies are hiring, and more

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This was adapted from CNBC's Work It newsletter on LinkedIn about all things work — from how to land the job to how to succeed in your career. Click here to subscribe.

The idea of a four-day workweek feels like a dream, doesn't it? The idea of working for four days and then getting a three-day weekend ... every single week. Think about everything you could do in three days!

It's not a pipe dream. It's a concept that is actually being tested right now. Before we get carried away with the three-day weekend part, though, let's focus on the work part for a minute.

Here's how it goes: You work 32 hours over the course of four days, but you don't get less done, you're just more efficient. It's called the 100-80-100 model: Employees get 100% of their pay for working 80% of the time if they accomplish 100% of their usual tasks.

Shorter workweek improves productivity, health, and relationships, trial shows

You might think that a shorter workweek would hamper productivity, but according to a recent trial, the reality was the opposite. The study, which ran from June to December 2022, was the world's biggest four-day workweek experiment to date and involved nearly 3,000 workers at 61 companies.

The results?

Companies reported that the shorter workweek improved productivity, morale and team culture. Employees reported that it even improved their health, finances and relationships.

You might expect that employees loved it — I mean, how many times have you had a three-day weekend and wished it was that way EVERY weekend? — but employers would be like, "No thank you." In fact, a whopping 92% of companies involved in the study said they planned to continue the four-day workweek.

And yes, employees loved it, too, some so much that 15% of workers surveyed said no amount of money would make them return to a traditional schedule.

"I would never go back," says Olivia Messer, a graphic designer at digital marketing agency Literal Humans, which is participating in the four-day workweek trial. "I absolutely love it. I definitely find that I have a lot more motivation and energy to work on the days I am working."

The situation provides "a much better work-life balance," she says. Now, instead of going to work on Fridays, she goes swimming and takes care of personal errands such as going to the bank.


CNBC conducted a poll on LinkedIn last month, and 85% of the people who responded said they were in favor of a four-day workweek.

In the comments, readers who have tried a four-day work week talked about how it made them more efficient. They consolidated meetings into specific windows of time and spent less time scrolling or doing other mindless tasks.

One HR manager who commented on the poll noted that if employees are burned out, feeling parent guilt and their homes are in disarray, how do you expect them to give 100%?

Congressman has introduced legislation to shorten the standard workweek 

One congressman is trying to make the four-day workweek a reality: Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif. He has reintroduced legislation that, if passed, would reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours instead of 40. Anything over that would be overtime.

That would mean you'd get a three-day weekend every week. Or, if your managers insist you work 40 hours, they'd have to pay you more. Which could soften the blow a bit.

Shortening the workweek — or paying employees more to put in 40 hours — would bring about "a significant change which will increase the happiness of humankind," Takano says.

The four-day workweek isn't for everyone

A shorter workweek is not going to work for all companies or every person, of course. If you're going to get all of your work done in fewer hours, think about what that means: You have to keep it really tight. That means managing your time, keeping your focus — and less down time for scrolling or chatting with co-workers.

"It's not for everyone, putting it frankly, to be able to work with that intensity every single day," Retta Kekic, chief marketing officer at hospitality hiring platform Qwick, said during a panel discussion at South By Southwest.

It's important to think about how you work, if you're capable of that intensity — and if you want to sustain that pace every week.

Here are three top skills leaders say you need to have in order to get hired for a four-day workweek job:

  1. Initiative
  2. Autonomy
  3. Adaptability

The thread here is that you need to be able to jump in and take action quickly and not wait to be asked, work well on your own and take responsibility for your work, and be willing to change in the name of working more efficiently or meeting customer needs.

Do you think you have what it takes?

11 companies adopting a 4-day workweek that are hiring right now

The companies involved in that six-month trial of the four-day workweek were primarily nonprofit and tech companies. They were smaller employers, with the exception of a few, such as Panasonic.

That makes sense: Smaller companies tend to be more nimble and have the ability to try new things and pivot more quickly than large companies.

If you're thinking you'd like to get in on the four-day workweek action, you still can. FlexJobs identified several companies that have or are planning to adopt a shorter workweek — and they're hiring!

Source: FlexJobs

Check out the full list and the positions they are hiring for here.

"While the concept of a four-day workweek is not brand new, there is no denying that there is great momentum and interest in this model," Doug Ebertowski, a career expert at FlexJobs, tells CNBC Make It. "That, coupled with the fact that employers have become much more creative in their approach to attracting great workers could mean that we may see the four-day work week here to stay."

That said, Yolanda Owens, a career expert at The Muse, cautions not to expect big companies to offer a four-day workweek.

"With the smaller organizations, adopting a four-day workweek makes sense because it's easier to kind of put parameters around that," Owens tells CNBC Make It. "I think it would be a bit more difficult for larger organizations to do that just because of the scope and scale." The logistics of arranging that kind of flexibility for people in an array of roles could be tough.

"I don't think you're going to see an Amazon adopting this anytime soon," Owens says.

— With reporting by Jennifer Liu and Sophie Kiderlin.

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