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Opinion
Sarah Green Carmichael

Four-Day Workweeks Can Burn You Out

Having Fridays off sounds appealing, but cramming more work into fewer days turns out to be bad for both companies and their employees.

It’s better to go home earlier in the day than earlier in the week.

It’s better to go home earlier in the day than earlier in the week.

Photographer: Sarah Blesener/Bloomberg

The disruptions of the Covid pandemic have prompted workers to reconsider how they can be most productive and forced companies to revisit some long-held beliefs. A few organizations are floating a new possibility: a four-day workweek.

In recent months, a diverse collection of employers including Japanese electronics maker Panasonic, fintech startup Bolt and the government of Belgium have recommended giving employees the option to work four days but get paid for five. Spain and Scotland are conducting their own trials of shorter weeks. They join a clutch of firms mainly in the tech sector that gravitated to a four-day format when the pandemic hit, including crowdfunding site Kickstarter, fashion reseller thredUp and venture capital firm Uncharted