Adhesives Magazine

The Four-Day Work Week

July 16, 2008

They’re doing it in Utah. County governments in Marion County, FL, make it mandatory, and Oakland County, MI, is seeking volunteers.


What is it? The four-day work week. Some employers are now offering to let their workers spend their 40-hour week working four, 10-hour days, rather than the traditional five days a week, in order to spend less money on gas and associated costs each day.

With a recent report predicting that gas prices could increase to $7 a gallon in the United States within two years, the four-day work week may be the answer that employees are searching for. There’s even an advocacy website for the four-day work week.

ABC News reports that the average commute is 30 miles round trip; with around 17 miles to the gallon, and gas prices at $4.10, employees can save about $7.24 a day, which adds up to $377.52 a year. In addition, a four-day work week means no day care on the fifth day, a heavy expense for many working parents.

And many companies across the country are following suit. A recent survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas of 100 medium and large businesses found that 57% now offer some sort of employee relief to help them cope with the tough economic circumstances.

I’m not so sure that a shortened work week would work for everyone, though – it wouldn’t be feasible in many cases, such as employees working on a production line or where companies run three shifts per day. Also, what if an employee needs to be contacted on their day off? How will traditional 9 to 5ers and 4-day work-weekers touch base with such different schedules? Perhaps, in some cases, working from home one day a week might be a better solution – although that won’t eliminate the need for day care in some cases. 

Is your company offering a four-day work week? Would you switch to that schedule if you could? Would you rather have government offices open five days a week or open longer hours for four days a week?