4/10 Work Schedule: Why Every Business Should Be Thinking About It

The best employers understand that they need to change with the times. 4-day workweeks are all the rage right now—and for a good reason. When you consider implementing something like a 4/10 schedule, you need to know all of the information so you can make a choice that’s right for your business and your employees.

In this article, we’re going to teach you all about the 4/10 work schedule. Learn what it is, and some key statistics so you know what’s going on in the working world when it comes to 4-day work weeks, the benefits and disadvantages, and the #1 factor to consider when making your decision.

What is a 4/10 Work Schedule?

A 4/10 work schedule—otherwise known as a compressed schedule—is when employees work a full 40 hours a week but in 4 days instead of 5 days. This means they’ll work 10 hours a day for 4 days instead of 8 hours a day for 5 days.

These compressed schedules aren’t just for 9-5 office spaces. There are big advantages—with some disadvantages—for restaurants, retail spaces, daycares, and other customer-facing businesses. When you’ve got shift workers or hourly employees, this schedule can look different for every business type depending on needs.

Is the 4/10 Schedule the Same as the 4-Day Work Week?

In short, yes! But also, no. The major difference is that many implement a 4-day work week as 32 hours a week—as opposed to the standard 40 hours—and pay remains the same. Let’s dig into what the 4-day work week means and why it’s on the rise in many countries.

The Great Resignation has thrown many employers for a loop, leaving them to find new and original ways to retain their best employees—and ways to bring in amazing prospects. According to CNN, 80% of survey participants who had recently resigned from their jobs supported a 4/10 work schedule. Probably even more interesting? 32% would have stayed at their jobs had a 4-day workweek been offered to them.

The working world is burnt out. Work-life balance is a top priority. A 4/10 schedule is one of the best ways to support both the needs of a business and the needs of its employees.

Important Statistics about The 4-Day Workweek

A global pilot program ran for 6 months to study the benefits of a 4-day workweek. In the U.S. program, 33 businesses and 903 employees participated and provided data to back up the benefits of the 4-day workweek pilot program. Each business who participated had a 2-month onramp where they could prepare for the scheduling change before the 6-month pilot program began.

Here are some of the most important data points from this comprehensive study.

A Compressed Workweek Made it Easier for Businesses to Hire and Retain Employees

63% of businesses had an easier time attracting and retaining employees. Many applicants cited the 4-day workweek as an incentive to apply—even over salary. And with retention being an expensive problem for most businesses, being able to retain your current employees should be top of mind. On average, there was a 12% increase in the number of employees added to the business. Did we mention this was during the Great Resignation?

A 4-Day Workweek Increased Revenue

The study really dug in to get the revenue increase accurate—because revenue is important to business owners. How did they do it? By weighing the company sizes. Overall, the revenue of the companies rose by 8% over the course of the 6 month study. Even better? There was a 37% increase when they compared the current year’s revenue to the previous year’s revenue.

A Compressed Schedule Made Employees Happier and Healthier

When they polled the employees at the end of the study, 78% of employees reported that the 4-day workweek made them happier at work and less stressed. And the data is in. Happier employees are more productive employees. Participants reported that both fatigue levels and sleep problems were reduced by 9%. They also reported that their activity level increased because they had the time to be physically active. This is an all round health bonus!

A 4-Day Workweek is a Big Draw for GenZ

GenZ will be the largest generational group in the workforce by 2025. If you want to be ahead of the curve as a business owner or manager, you need to have a strategy to hire GenZ employees. 67% of Gen Z workers said a 4-day workweek would be an important factor in determining who they would work for. This makes sense as they prioritize work-life balance.

A 4-Day Workweek is More Important Than a Higher Salary

The employees who participated were asked how much of a salary raise they would need in order to entice them back to a 5-day workweek—and the numbers were high. 42% of participants said that they would need a pay raise of 25-50% in order to return to a 5-day workweek. Another 13% said that the pay raise would need to be higher than 50%. Let’s flip that for you. If you have budget restrictions, a 4-day workweek may be a bargaining point for you when your employees approach you for a raise.

The Benefits of a 4/10 Schedule

Now that we’ve learned some statistics, let’s go a little broader and talk about the overall benefits of a compressed schedule specifically.

1. Happier and Less Stressed Employees

We talked about this above, but it can’t be understated. A 4/10 schedule increased employee happiness overall and lessen stress in the workplace. Many employees stated that the flexibility of working 4 days a week instead of 5—whether those days landed on a Monday or a Saturday—gave them more flexibility and more work-life balance. Total win/win.

2. Retention Rates are Higher for Businesses Due to Flexibility and Employee Happiness

Flexibility is on the rise as one of the top reasons employees stay at their jobs, creeping up on salary. People value autonomy. They can spend time with friends and family, and pursue their hobbies.

Iceland was a pioneer in instituting 4-day work weeks. They reported increased well-being, lower burnout rates, lower absenteeism, and improved retention rates. In fact, more people were applying for roles.

3. Increased Productivity Despite Fewer Days at Work

Companies who have tested out the 4-day work week—whether those days were 10 hours long or 8 hours long—saw increased productivity. Even with reduced hours, employees were able to be more productive during working hours because they were well-rested and more fulfilled in their lives outside of work. This showed better focus when on the floor.

4. Lower Absenteeism Due to Flexibility in Scheduling

When your business is open 7 days a week or on an extended schedule, you may have employees who need to take time off for appointments or catch up on life tasks like grocery shopping and laundry. With more flexibility in their schedules, they’re less likely to call in absent. That means fewer shift swaps and understaffed shifts for you.

The Disadvantages of a 4/10 Schedule

Even though there are lots of benefits to a 4/10 work schedule, it isn’t always sunshine and roses. There are some distinct disadvantages that we’re going to explore.

1. Employee Fatigue can Impact Productivity

If you’re planning to switch from an 8-hour shift to a 10-hour shift, there may be a transition period for your employees. Two extra hours a day may not seem like a lot, but it can add up if you aren’t used to it.

If you want to prevent this, make sure to schedule some extra, shorter breaks for your employees to breathe some fresh air and take a mental break. Making sure your employees have plenty of water breaks and opportunities to snack can be particularly helpful if you’ve got a physically strenuous job that’s customer-facing—like being a hairstylist or a daycare worker.

2. Clashing Schedules with Other Daily Life Events

If your employees are mostly students, a 4/10 shift schedule can be difficult for them. Students tend to pick jobs where they can work around their school schedule, but with a 10-hour shift day, that leaves little room for a class.

Parents are also another demographic to consider if you want to switch your business to a 4/10 schedule. Daycares have limited care hours, so there may be some scheduling they need to navigate. They also may not be keen on being away from their kiddos 10 hours a day—plus commute time—4 days a week.

3. A Complicated Scheduling Puzzle

If you’ve got extended hours past the traditional 9-5 and you’re open 7 days a week, scheduling employees in 10-hour shifts for 4 days a week can become a complicated scheduling puzzle you need to solve.

There are employee schedule restrictions, requested time off, weekends, and shift swaps to consider when working with a new method of scheduling. It can make your head spin.

Making sure you’ve got an online scheduling tool—like the one Homebase offers—will make your 4/10 work schedule life much easier. It keeps track of time-off requests, sends reminders about upcoming shifts, and allows you to find coverage for open shifts. Try it today!

4. Labor Law Compliance Risks

Every state has different labor laws to think about when scheduling employees. Those labor laws become extra tricky when you’re working outside of a traditional 9-5 schedule. If you’ve got hourly workers or shift workers, you’re probably pretty up-to-speed on labor laws for length of shift and overtime. Just make sure to take these into account when making the switch to a 4/10 shift schedule.

Homebase can also help you with HR and compliance if you’re feeling nervous about this new territory and want to make sure you’ve dotted all of your ‘i’s and crossed all of your ‘t’s.

 

How do you Implement a 4/10 Work Schedule for the First Time?

So you want to try a 4/10 work schedule, but where do you start? We’ve got you.

Step 1: Make the Announcement. Coordinate with Management and all Employees

The first step is to tell everybody about your decision. Really drive home the benefits for everyone involved. If there’s pushback, make sure to listen to the feedback. Some of it may be valid and something you hadn’t thought about before.

Make sure that every department and every employee knows about the change and what date the change will take place. If you run a restaurant, this decision can affect management, the cooks, servers, bartenders, cleaners, and hosts—notify them all as soon as possible.

When you’ve got shift workers, it can be difficult to get everybody together at the same time to make a big announcement. Homebase has a team communication tool that can inform everybody of this change and keep a formal record of the date and time you notified your team.

Step 2: Create a Clear Policy for any Changes Being Made to the Current Expectations

Things are going to change. That’s when confusion and miscommunications can happen. Getting everybody on the same page is as easy as creating a clear policy for any changes to the way things currently work.

This could include:

  • The way employees submit time-off requests
  • Weekly availability submission deadlines
  • How to notify you if they’re calling in absent
  • Who to speak to about schedule changes after it’s been posted
  • How to request shift swaps
  • Whether the schedule will be set or rotating shifts

Step 3: Implement and Tweak

There are bound to be bumps in the road. After all, completely changing the way an entire team runs is no easy feat. Implement your best ‘guess’ at the way the schedule works moving forward, then don’t be afraid to tweak it.

Keep the lines of communication open with your team and allow them to come to you with feedback. They’re the ones on the floor every day and have valuable insight into what’s working and what isn’t.

If there are new policies to implement to make your business run more smoothly after a trial period of the 4/10 work schedule, you’re basically starting from Step 1 again. Make the announcement, let everyone on the team know, add the new policy, implement and tweak—if needed.

You’re playing a bit of a long game, so allow some time for everybody to adjust and settle in.

Is a 4/10 Schedule Right for Your Business?

The major question is, how do you know if a 4/10 schedule’s right for your business?

Our suggestion? Ask your employees. Bring them data and see how they feel about it.

The benefits for you as an employer to implement a 4/10 shift schedule are all side benefits to those of your employees. If they’re happier, they’re more productive and you make more revenue. If they’re less stressed and better rested, they’re less likely to burn out and leave for another job with more balance—saving you the cost of hiring new employees.

If they aren’t on board for a 4/10 schedule, there may be no point in having this debate with yourself. Every job and every team’s different so there’s no ‘right’ choice.

Offer your team a way to offer feedback on the idea if you’re really considering changing how scheduling works.

Make the Switch to a 4/10 Schedule Easier.

Use the Homebase scheduling tool to make scheduling a breeze, With auto-scheduling capabilities, notifications when the schedule’s posted, overtime reminders, and so much more, making the switch can be easy. Sign up today!

4/10 Work Schedule FAQS

What is a 4/10 Work Schedule?

A 4/10 work schedule is a shift schedule where employees work four 10 hour shifts in the course of a week. This gives them three days off a week to rest and recover. It’s also known as a compressed schedule because a full 40 hour week’s compressed into 4 days. It’s similar to a 4-day workweek, but the main difference is that a 4-day workweek usually means a 32 hour week—four 8 hour shift days with three days off— and keeps their pay the same as a 40 hour week.

What is a 9/80 Schedule?

A 9/80 schedule is like the more complicated older brother of the 4/10 schedule. The reason we didn’t bring this up in the article is because it isn’t really beneficial to shift workers. Basically, you spread 80 hours over a 2-week period to add up to one additional day off every 2 weeks. The easiest way to put it is, in the course of ten working days you work eight days for 9 hours, then one 8-hour day, and then you earn one day off. Complicated: we know. That’s why we tackled the 4/10 workweek to keep things simple.

What are the Benefits of a Compressed Shift Schedule?

Many of the direct benefits of a compressed schedule are for the employees. But the employers get amazing benefits too! Employees are happier, which makes them more productive and brings in more revenue. Employees love the flexibility, which means they’re much more likely to stay and you’ve got less turnover. Prospective employees are more likely to apply for your roles because a 4-day workweek’s a huge bonus for work-life balance, which means you get the pick of the litter for candidates. It’s a win/win scenario for everyone involved.

How do I Know if a 4/10 Schedule Will Work for my Business?

The biggest consideration for whether a 4/10 schedule will work for your business, is the demographic of your team. This compressed schedule can be a big problem for parents who have specific times to pick up their kids, or for students who have worked their school schedules around working shifts. The best thing you can do is ask your team how they feel about the possibility of changing to a 4/10 schedule.

What Impact Does a 4/10 Work Schedule Have on Commuting?

By reducing the number of commuting days, employees can save on commuting costs and time.

What Effect Does a 4/10 Work Schedule Have on Employee Retention?

Offering a 4/10 work schedule can positively impact employee retention, with a significant number of workers indicating they would have remained in their jobs had this option been available.

Can a 4/10 Work Schedule Improve Recruitment?

This schedule is often seen as an attractive benefit by job seekers, potentially enhancing recruitment efforts.

Which Industries Are Most Suitable for a 4/10 Work Schedule?

Industries that can adapt to longer shifts and don’t require constant, daily operation may find the 4/10 schedule particularly beneficial.

What Are Employees’ Views on Working Longer Days?

Opinions vary among employees, with some finding longer workdays taxing and others appreciating the additional day off. A significant number of employees are open to working extended hours for a shorter workweek.

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