The interwebs are abuzz with discussion on the impacts of a four-day workweek on the economy, work culture, and work-life balance.
February marked the end of a four-day workweek pilot program in the UK, and the results were stunningly positive. NPR reported that the majority of companies participating in the pilot would continue to offer four-day workweeks, as it resulted in less employee stress and higher productivity.
Politicians in the US were watching closely. Congressmen Mark Takano from Californio introduced a bill that would legally reduce the US’s standard work week from 40 hours to 32.
Citizens React to Four-Day Work Week Potential
The new legislation, combined with the UK’s study results, caused an explosion of chatter in online spaces about the idea.
Most citizens loved the idea, but some expressed concern over implementation or hoped the legislation would go even further.
The Four-Day Work Week is a Fantastic Idea
Many users around the web explained how a four-day workweek would improve their lives.
One user from the Futurology subreddit explained that there’s just not enough time to manage their life with the current system.
“Weekends just aren’t enough,” the user stated. “I don’t even have children or hardly any other responsibilities outside of the home. But caring for myself, my 2 dogs properly, and my home, working a typical 9-5, I just don’t enough time for relaxation & regular chores/maintenance that needs doing.”
A user in the r/politics sub shared the impact of a four-day workweek on their life.
“We moved to 36 hours at our 40 pay, and they allowed us to find schedules that work for us and our department with many of us working 4 – 9 hour days. It is awesome – productivity has remained at the same level, and morale is so much better. We are coming on a year, and it has been life changing!”
Twitter users agreed, sharing how more free time improved their life.
Honestly the four day work week needs to be a thing. Yesterday and today I cleaned/did laundry, today I saw friends, tomorrow I can rest. And tbh I will be very energized and productive at work because of a balanced weekend!
— 💛Meg | Chicago 6/2 (@spiceandswift) March 12, 2023
It’s a Great Idea, but Unlikely to Happen Anytime Soon
Many people love the idea but fear it’s a pipe dream. It’s a hot new buzzword right now, but many think the chatter will fade and, along with it, the political desire.
Still, they hope that future generations will keep fighting the good fight to one day make a four-day workweek the reality for everyone.
We’re almost certainly not going to get legislation making this law any time soon, but young people in particular are already starting to force the hands of companies they work for.
Remote work is now an absolute must and a four day work week may not be far behind.
— brent is ready for baseball (@brent858) March 11, 2023
Many Redditors also agreed with this assessment, saying certain political parties are working to dismantle labor protections rather than improve work-life balance.
“Republicans would sooner put their own meemaw back into the mines via raising the minimum retirement age than they are to slash hours and raise the minimum wage,” said one user in the R/politics subreddit. “This bill is DOA.”
Concern Over Implementation
Some users said they’re open to the idea but want to hear more about how it will work on a large scale and for specific industries designed around the five-day week.
Twitter user @amgsmith tweeted that they’re interested in it, but want to hear more.
I’m interested in the debate around the four day work week, but I have some reservations. Some of the advocates suggest that it can be achieved with techniques like smarter meetings (agenda, trust, rapid decisions, etc.). That’s been talked about for years, with little traction.
— Andrew (@amgsmith) March 9, 2023
@amgsmith’s concern came from a management perspective, and in subsequent tweets, he pondered how the law would affect factories and other labor-intensive industries.
Over on Reddit, the concern was geared toward pay. A user on the r/politics pointed out that the bill may reduce employee pay in its current form.
“This bill is to make it so people are only working 32 hours a week and only getting paid for 32 hours,” they explained. “A true bill (that shows greater benefits) is the new work week is 32 hours (4-days) AND you get paid the same exact paycheck as if you worked a normal 40.”
The concern is understandable. Most workers can’t afford a pay cut, especially considering rising inflation and the exploding cost of living.
Society Should Move Forward
Many users on both platforms shared that society should evolve with technology, and the four-day workweek is a significant step towards that.
“This is how society SHOULD evolve,” stated one Redditor. “As we produce more wealth that wealth should give people free’er and free’er lives.”
A Twitter user pointed out that the 40 hour work week was novel when it was introduced as well, but society adapted.
“Let’s remember that the five-day work week is something we created in legislation almost a 100 years ago, it wasn’t normal and it wasn’t universal.” @RepMarkTakano discusses his bill for the four-day work week. pic.twitter.com/xFcZhfPFMv
— Yasmin Vossoughian Reports (@YasminMSNBC) March 11, 2023
Not Everyone is Impressed
Some internet users who value work above all else dislike the idea. A Twitter user said a four-day weekend is a symptom of the younger’s generation’s laziness.
It’s no wonder most Americans are for a four-day work week. Modern technologies & gadgets have made us the laziest country on earth. We no longer get up to answer the phone or go to the bookshelf to look up the meaning of some thing. Convenience is just another name for laziness.
— JA MCCAUSLAND – “NEVER EVER GIVE UP” (@JOSEPHMCCAUSLA7) March 9, 2023
Do You Support a Four Day Work Week?
Politics are finicky, and we can’t know what will happen with this bill. However, it’s a great conversation starter and has opened an array of discussion concerning the future of work and the best ways to improve people’s lives.
Do you think the four day work week is a viable solution that would offer better work life balance and increased productivity, or do you agree with the Twitter user that said only lazy folks would want a reduced work week?
Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.