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In my opinion, blog posts published in January of each year are some of the most interesting posts, specifically because of the predictions they make of the coming year. Take, for example, the Time Magazine article from January that suggested “2023 could finally be the year of the 4-day workweek.” And certainly, this strategy has taken off this year in an attempt to reduce rates of burnout—an article by Josh Bersin for Harvard Business Review reports that the number of companies practicing the 4-day work week has “tripled in the last few years.” Nevertheless, it seems as though many still see the strategy as being as risky as it was when we first explored this topic back in 2021. So, how can you both remain competitive by offering employees looking to reduce their working hours back per week and implement the 4-day work week with success?

Companies Taking on the 4-Day Work Week

While it is just one of the many benefits that come with the 4-day work week, many cite burnout prevention as their main reason for attempting the 4-day work week strategy in their organization. And yet, as a study from Gallup suggests, between those who worked five, six, and four days a week, those who worked five days a week in fact had the lowest rates of burnout and the highest rates of engagement.

This, many believe, is largely due to the fact that those who work four days a week do not have their work pared back but merely compressed, meaning more work to do per hour of the working week. And, of course, this defeats the whole purpose of offering workers more time to recover from their busy work days. But, of course, this doesn’t mean this strategy can’t be implemented correctly.

Back in 2019, Microsoft Japan implemented the 4-day work week and found that their workers’ productivity increased by 40%. And even more recently, industry giants such as Lamborghini and Ikea have announced they too will adopt this new work strategy to both improve employee retention rates and to remain agile and competitive in times of high burnout.

If you, too, are looking for ways to improve employee retention and reduce burnout—or even for ways to attract more top performing candidates in your industry—look no further than our top three tips for implementing a 4-day work week successfully below.

Implement the 4-Day Work Week with Success

As previously mentioned in our first 4-day work week blog post, there are many challenges that arise in this emerging strategy—one of which includes resisting the temptation to try cramming five days of work into four. If you’re looking to implement the 4-day work week into your organization, here are a few of our top tips to ensure company-wide success based on the lessons other organizations have learned.

1. Use Smart Goals to Prioritize Work

As Bersin suggests, clearly outlining what work takes priority over others is crucial for maintaining productivity.

While Bersin simply suggests using frameworks such as objectives and key results (OKRs) to keep employees on track, we further suggest setting such OKRs with time limits and deadlines per hour, day, or week to ensure these goals are SMART (that is, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). If these goals are not SMART, they need to be pared back in order to prioritize specifically only the OKRs that are.

Perhaps even more specifically, Bersin notes that companies should prioritize employees’ education and training, rather than letting them get “bogged down with other administrative or menial tasks” that take away from “priority tasks.”

This will also help keep employees engaged mentally and creatively at work. To do so, Bersin advocates for, as we often do, automating systems that are taking away from an employee’s work day, or even removing or outsources these tasks altogether.

2. Take Advantage of Asynchronous Communication Methods

In many industries around the world, one of the biggest lessons from the major shift from in-office to remote work has been the power of asynchronous communication. Async working capabilities, of course, have allowed workers from all around the world continue their everyday tasks from wherever they may be, no matter their timezone.

However, async communication methods are by no means only useful for those working remotely. Even when working in an office-setting, sending off messages digitally via asynchronous communication platforms can be powerful for many different reasons.

For one, it can help keep track of certain processes—ensuring nothing gets overlooked or forgotten amongst other, perhaps more pressing ones. For another, however, it can maintain employees’ focus and encourage more clear communication. This is because messaging often requires a condensing of information, and this encourages more direct communication, entirely removing any unnecessary or unrelated material.

As well, messages sent via an async platform allow employees to seek out and reply to messages when they are able, encouraging a less disruptive workflow.

3. Perform Regular Audits to Maintain Productivity

Of course, with any change must also come ways of measuring that change’s success. In addition to the meeting audit Bersin suggests—that is, considering which meetings are actually impeding productivity rather than encouraging it—we suggest auditing other practices throughout the organization that may be taking up employees’ precious time.

Again, this may lead to cutting back, outsourcing, or even stopping certain functions if necessary to maintain peak productivity during the 4-day work week. The key here is keeping a close eye on everyday practices that may otherwise go unnoticed and unrecognized as a friction point in workflows.


Have you recently implemented the 4-day work week successfully? We want to hear from you! Let us know what you’ve learned from your practices in our latest LinkedIn post and if we’ve missed anything you’d like to add here!


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