Is the four-day week the future of work?

Steven Loeb · November 22, 2022 · Short URL:

40% of employers are implementing this policy, and studies show it relieves burnout and stress

When looking at surveys of what employees want from their employers right now, a few things clearly emerge: one is a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), as well as increased benefits and, of course, increased pay. One thing that stands out the most, though, is flexibility, aka the ability to work where they want, and when they want, as a way to decrease burnout and to lessen the burden on their mental health. 

Employers have begun taking note, and one increasingly popular way for them to give their employees a mental break is to give them more time off in the form a four-day workweek.

In consulting firm Ernst and Young's second annual EY Future Workplace Index, it was found that 40% of companies surveyed had either already implemented, or had begun to implement, such a policy.

This is in combination with the more than 70% of employees who currently have a hybrid work schedule, in which they work from home at least two to three days a week, up from just 42% last year.

The majority, 64%, of executives in the survey said they believe that flexible working options motivate employees. As such, 69% of company leadership that has, or will be, implementing hybrid work technologies, such as video collaboration platforms and virtual whiteboards. 

Studies are already showing the benefits of the four-day work week.

For example, in June, thousands of workers in the United Kingdom began testing out a four-day workweek as part of a pilot program; the trial included more than 3,300 workers in 70 companies, who would be paid the same for 20% less time at work for six months.

By September, the midway point of the study, 88% of companies stated that the four-day week was working ‘well’ for their business, and 46% said their productivity was the same, while 34% said it had improved slightly, and 15% said it had improved significantly.

As such, 86% of stated that they would be ‘extremely likely’ and or ‘likely’ to consider retaining the four-day week policy after the trial period.

Similarly, a trial in Iceland, which took place between 2015 and 2019, and included more than 2,500 workers, or roughly 1% of Iceland's working population, showed workers reporting feeling less stressed and at risk of burnout, while also saying their health and work-life balance had improved.

"The economic downturn will force leaders to make important decisions regarding their real estate portfolios — from investments, to space optimization, to workforce models," Mark Grinis, EY Americas Real Estate, Hospitality & Construction Leader, said in a statement.

"Employers are beginning to understand that they need to earn the commute time of their employees, and many are investing in the 'office of the future' to achieve this."

(Image source:

Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes