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4 Day Work Week Tips for Freelancers, Business owners, and Employees

It was thanks to the Workers’ Movement, who we now celebrate and pay homage to on May Day, that the formerly unregulated work hours were reduced and unified into the 5 Day Work Week as we know it now. This led to significant improvement in workers’ safety, well-being, general work-life balance, as well as sustainable productivity and staff retention.

Nowadays, the 4 Day Work Week is all the rage. As a recent large trial of over 60 British companies proved, there is a plethora of benefits to the 4DWW, leading to more and more businesses adopting it. Some of the advantages are the following:

  • Better performance due to increased employee happiness

  • Healthier work environments

  • Less sick days and improved staff retention

  • Reduced carbon footprint

Despite all these benefits, the actual switch to the novelty work structure, after decades of 5 day, 40 hour work week, can be quite a challenge.
That is why we compiled a few tips that can help you ease the transformation process. Undoubtedly, the way you adjust to the 4DWW differs given your position in or outside of a company — which is why we’re also zeroing in on the different perspectives and approaches to the 4DWW based on your work situation. Whether you’re a freelancer, own a business, or work for one, we have tips for you all!

4DWW tips for freelancers

Undeniably, one of the main benefits of being a freelancer is the ability to be in charge of your own time, allowing you to adjust your work times exactly to your specific needs. Thanks to that, freelancers already have a bit of an advantage in adopting the 4DWW, however, it can still be challenging to adapt not only yourself but also your clients to the reduced work week. Here are our suggestions to help you with that:

  • Set clear expectations with clients (e.g. communicate you’re off on Fridays)

  • Automate processes as much as possible by using software/tools

  • Plan you calendar ahead and set daily or weekly goals

  • Practice task batching (e.g. writing all invoices on the 10th of the month)

4DWW tips for businesses

If you’re a business owner that got charmed by the concept of the 4 Day Work Week, you obviously have a tad more planning and organizing at hand: from figuring out a company-wide strategy, via implementation of it, to listening to feedback and tweaking the work structure according to it.

Yet, the process can be made easier by following these tips:

  • Learn more about task prioritization and focus on most important tasks

  • Develop a clear strategy and a step-by-step plan for implementation

  • Communicate plan to clients + employees

  • Plan puffer to get feedback from team and be ready to go back to the drawing board

Also, do not forget about the fact how the 4DWW is contributing to your region’s economy on a macro level since it might be beneficial for you to hire two people to work on the same field of tasks in a 4DWW structure (you’re contributing to higher employment rates!) than one in a 5DWW structure. The main benefit for you as a business owner here is that, in case of sickness/emergency you do not have to rely on one main responsible and for the employees stress is significantly reduced!

4DWW tips for employees

As a worker, you unfortunately have much less freedom in managing your work time. However, you can still try to advocate for the implementation of the 4DWW, using the bulk of articles and research on its positives as a backing.

You might also find yourself in a situation, where a company-wide switch to the 4DWW has already been made, and now you need to adjust to the work structure. Here are some tips to help you with that:

  • Collect data on your productivity and gather arguments for flexible hours / remote work / 4DWW

  • Discuss possible options with your employer and be flexible in negotiation

  • Take breaks + recharge no matter what

  • Document everything you’ve discussed in writing (e.g. details about your schedule and performance expectations)

One thing to keep in mind

No matter how prepared you are, it might take a while to adjust and fine-tune the shortened work structure. After all, it is a fairly recent concept that follows literal decades of the 5 Day Work Week system applied around the majority of the Western world. Of course, that means that such a sudden and quite drastic change won’t come with its tolls and challenges — but with time, its benefits will undoubtedly show up. And if not, you can keep on searching for a completely unique, well-fitting work structure that suits your own business perfectly.