Should Entrepreneurs Adopt the Four-Day Work Week?

entrepreneurs four day work weekIn August 2008, the state of Utah implemented a trial four-day work week for 17,000 of its employees. A four-day work week involves working four 10-hour days rather than five 8-hour days.

The Working 4 Utah program has been a success with survey results showing 82 percent of program participants wanting to stay on the four-day work week schedule.

A Scientific American article discusses the four-day work week employee survey results:

  • There was a decrease in health complaints and sick days.
  • Employees reported decreased stress levels.
  • 30 percent of participants exercised more.

Not only has the program been a success for program participants, it is saving the government money and has a positive environmental impact as well. According to Scientific American, the total reduction in greenhouse gases from closing offices on Fridays and eliminating a Friday commute is projected at 12,000 metric tons of CO2 annually.

Other states and companies are planning on running similar trials of the four-day work week. Should entrepreneurs hop on board?

If the findings of the Work 4 Utah program such as better health, decreased stress levels, and more time for exercise are potential results of entrepreneurs working less, it could have a positive, long term impact on entrepreneurs’ businesses. An Entrepreneur article suggests that healthy choices can boost your company’s bottom line.

A shorter work week for women entrepreneurs could mean more personal time and less stress. A recent ForbesWoman article, Overworked, Overextended And Overstressed, states that 85 percent of women take on the responsibility of household cleaning, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and laundry. “The double burden of job and home demands leaves them stressed and pressed for time, with 45% responding they don’t have enough time for themselves,” says Jenna Goudreau.

There are three keys to cutting down the entrepreneur’s work week:

  1. Commit to a schedule that maximizes personal productivity. This is different for each person. The important thing is finding a schedule that works best for you.
  2. Delegate tasks and outsource work that someone else can do for you. Delegating and outsourcing is how Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, runs a thriving business that requires just 4 hours of his time every week. Hiring a virtual assistant or freelancer will free up more personal time and allow the focus to be on guiding the business rather than occupying time with the completion of mundane tasks that are best left for someone else to do.
  3. Practice kaizen. Kaizen is the Japanese practice of continually improving and eliminating waste. Make every work hour count. Avoid distractions and any unnecessary task that is not pushing your business forward. Do not feel compelled to respond to every tweet, every email, and every message.

While not all entrepreneurs can achieve a four-day work week and very few will achieve a four-hour work week, we can strive to free up more time for doing things that we enjoy and making time for the people we love. After all, entrepreneurship is not just about the creation of wealth but also the creation of time to spend how we choose.

What are your thoughts on the four-day work week? Could you do it? Or do you think a four-day work week is impractical for entrepreneurs?

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4 thoughts on “Should Entrepreneurs Adopt the Four-Day Work Week?

  1. This could be a boon for women in the workplace. As a married woman who is planning to start a family in the near future, it is unnerving to think that my child could suffer the loss of quality time with his or her mother. Women still are expected to take care of the children it seems. The 4 day work week might put mothers’ minds at ease, knowing that they will have one extra day to focus on themselves and family.

    Might I say that men parent, too, and the 4 day work week would help them accomplish the same goal. Does appear that they aren’t shamed by our culture if they elect a career over child rearing, which is unfortunate.

  2. Lydia, I agree with you that a four-day work week is great for all parents -both men and women -because it allows for more personal time and family time.

    I recently interviewed Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software and blogger at Mommy CEO. On her blog she talks about “working mommy guilt” and it’s something a lot of working moms who I talk to seem to go through at one point or another. I wonder if the four-day work week would help alleviate that guilt.

  3. I can remember working the 4/10 work week and I loved it. It’s a little tough to spend those extra few hours away on those days you work, but the extra day off is so much more worth it! It gives you the time to get the break you really need. With the normal 2 day weekend it seems like the first day and a half are playing catch up around the house: cleaning, personal finances, shopping, etc.

    As an entrepreneur working from home that extra day would be sweet. It’s funny how we don’t give ourselves the time that we would have normally demanded in the corporate world! Great tips to get organized and prioritize our lists!
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  4. Thanks Coree! I know what you mean about the weekends being filled with things to do. I really think entrepreneurs can benefit from staying on a schedule and giving themselves a day off. If I work for too many hours in a day or too many days in the week I get to a point when I’m just not very productive anymore. I’m always so much more productive after taking a little break or having a day off. Entrepreneurs working really long hours need to ask themselves how many of those extra hours are productive ones.

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