The Four Day Work Week: A Chronological, Systematic Review of the Academic Literature

Date

2023-04-13

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Springer

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

Despite having been propounded for at least 50 years, the four-day work week (4DWW) has recently attracted global attention. The media headlines are dominated by the positive outcomes that can be expected by converting to a 4DWW. However, on examination the claims often have foundations that derive from reports published by advocacy groups and organisation’s self-reported results rather than scholarly research. This paper turns to the academic literature and uses a chronological, systematic review method to address the questions of what positives and negatives can be attributed to the 4DWW? Does the scholarly research support the popular contemporary claims? And what can be learned from more than 50 years of scholarly 4DWW publications that can inform future research? Drawing on 31 academic articles that specifically researched the 4DWW, the conclusions found that the majority demonstrated favourable results such as increased morale, job satisfaction, cost reductions and reduced turnover whilst negatives included performance measures and monitoring being intensified, scheduling problems, and that benefits may fade over time. The impact on productivity and the environment were inconclusive. Overall, the scholarly research paints a more complicated and ambiguous picture compared to that presented by 4DWW advocates and the media. More contemporary research utilising rigorous methodologies is required.

Description

Keywords

Four-day week, Compressed work week, Flexible working hours, Alternative work arrangements

Citation

Campbell, T. (2023) The Four Day Work Week: A Chronological, Systematic Review of the Academic Literature Management Review Quarterly,

Rights

Research Institute

People, Organisations and Work Institute (POWI)