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Does the 4 Day Working Week Work?

Does the 4 Day Working Week Work?

Does the 4 Day Working Week Work?

Since September 2023, pascom has been testing the 4-day working week and the purpose of this article is highlight why we decided to change, what we implemented, what we’ve learnt along the way and most importantly to answer the big question: Does the four day week work?

Why Change Anything?

At pascom, we are a family company, which happens to have a fantastic product. Our team is younger, more family orientated and we are proud to say that our people have always given everything in their jobs. The morale within the company is excellent, we already offer a significant number of employee benefits, our sales model is effective and our dev team are continually developing what is already a great solution - so why change anything?

The answer is simple: the truth!

  1. Stressed employees - as a younger team, most of our employees are either in or approaching the so-called rush hour of life - the phase between 25 and 45 years old were everything from careers to partners, kids, houses, and family all seem to collide together all at once. Not only is this phase of life expensive, it is also extremely stressful and time consuming.

  2. Challenges to employee retention - our employees receive regular head hunter approachess, making employee retention an essential consideration of HR strategy.

  3. Challenges to attracting new employees - our geographical location means the employment market is not only smaller, but also highly competitive with huge multi-national companies also located in our region.

What this means

pascom are by no means alone when it comes to being affected by the issues above. In fact, many business owners are facing the same issues. The truth is that the combination of over-stressed employees and the ever increasing struggle to find and keep new talent within the company will eventually result in slow but steady shrinking of the company before finally going under.

One could throw more money at to the problem. Higher salaries may persuade employees to stay and even convince potential new hires to choose you. However, it’s not really a viable long-term solution. Employee stress levels will stay the same and those new hires will likely become even more expensive every year. Furthermore, if you are in the situation like us at pascom, where you are competeting against global players in the regional workforce, then throwing more money at people is like hoping for a miracle, as those giants will always have more to offer.

Therefore, we needed an amazingly fantastic “WOW factor”, something unique, something highly desirable and something that these big international players couldn’t easily offer. And that’s how we decided on the 4 day working week.

Why the 4 Day Week?

Firstly, because it is fair and equal for everybody. Each employee benefits in the same way. Working 4 days a week, but getting paid for 5 days is easy to understand as a recruitment USP. Workplace flexibility and work-life balance are both crucial benefits that both existing employees and potential new hires look for in their employers and the 4 day week is the icing on the cake when it comes to flexi working and work-life balance. Moreover, existing employees will feel like they are being rewarded in the same way as new hires.

Secondly, regardless of an employee’s personal circumstances, having an extra full day off is great for reducing stress as it allows you to focus on what makes you happy. Unlike working reduced hours over 5 days, having a completely free day means you can completely switch off from the rigours of your working life and give your full focus to other equally important aspects of life. For example, younger employees could use the time to persue their hobbies, while those with families can spend more time at home with the kids.

What’s more, employees who do are not currently burdened with the stresses of the Rush Hour phase, but want use the time to explorer other interests or simply earn some extra money for their rainy day holiday fund are free to find part-time employement if they choose to do so.

Four Day Working Week Models

There are many variations of the 4-day working week. We chose the 4/32/100 model. That means 4 days, 32 hours for 100% pay. However, there are a number of variations of the 4 day week all of which have there pro’s and cons.

4 Days, 8 Hours / Day, 80% Salary

This option will result in employees working 20% less but for 20% less pay. While this approach may help alleviate workplace stress and it might even be an attractive tool for new hires (if your salaries are already high enough).

However, existing employees will probably not be very happy to have their salaries’ slashed by 20%. Moreover, the strain on employee finances may cause more stress than before especially given the level of inflation in the global economy right now.

4 Days, 9-10 Hours / Day, 100% Salary

With this model, employees will continue to work the full 40 hour weeking for there usual salarly. However, the hours will be spread over 4 days at 9-10 hours a day. It is an approach that many older, more traditional companies have considered.

However, it is our opinion that having longer working hours per day does not deliver any stress reducing, flexibility enhancing benefits. Remember the rush of life phase? With this approach, even employees with shorter commutes will have less personal time than they did before and will be commuting earlier and later than before, meaning downtime will also be reduced. Moreover, requiring employees to focus for longer per day is, in our opinion, counter-productive as most normal people cannot focus effectively for that long.

Therefore, we would not recommend this approach as it does not fulfil any of objectives. In fact, our view is that it would make the situation worse.


In layman’s terms, the 100:80:100 model means 100% performance over 80% of the working week hours for 100% salary. This approach is the basis for how we decided to implement the 4-day week as it gives employees more downtime for the same pay and in return, the employees are more fresh and rejuvanted meaning they are better equipped to deliver 100% performance.

What have we learnt?

The 4 day working week sounds fantastic, and it really is. I for one am really benefitting from the extra day off. It gives me the freedom and flexibility to do things I love, e.g. 3 or 4 hour long bike tours, or catching up on household chores. Okay, I don’t enjoy the chores and would otherwise put them off - much to the annoyance of my better half! Moreover, as a youth team football trainer, I am able to be present for my kids training sessions AND matches. This was simply not possible before.

However, before you think the 4 day week is easy, it isn’t. The 4 day week is not perfect and it comes with real challenges that you will need to overcome, meaning there are some real considerations that you need to consider before making the switch.

Which Day Off?

When people think of the 4-day week, most people immediately think of all employees having the friday off. However, this is not practicle as it means that businesses are effectively closed on Fridays. So a more flexible approach is required and most models suggest employees to extend their weekends by choosing either Monday or Friday.

At pascom, our employees were give the choice of one of three days; Monday, Tuesday or Friday. This decision was based on providing the maximum freedom of choice whilst ensuring that day-to-day operations of the company were not to adversly affected. In our case, as a cloud telephony solutions provider, we provide a service and therefore have guaranteed Service Level Agreements. This is turn meant that we have obligations to our customers and partners that must be fulfilled within fixed time frames. This meant, we had to find an approach that ensured all our teams, but critically our technical support and DevOp teams could continue to operate at full capacity.

Choose the days wisely

When deciding on which days to offer, offering 3 days to choose from seemed like a great idea to maintain capacity. However, hindsight has shown that the choice of 2 days is the better option. When employees are off work for 3 days in the working week, planning and scheduling has become incredibly complex.

We would also suggest implementing a policy whereby, once an employee chooses their preferred day off, that day will always be their day off (at least for a certain fixed amount of time). Do not allow employees to mix and match as this reduces transparency, creating even more planning issues.

Time Management & Time Tracking

As mentioned above, having a reduced week with people out of the office on different days creates it’s own issues. Firstly, all your weekly internal meetings, sync ups, and brainstorming sessions etc will need to be rescheduled in order to ensure that all the require employees are able to attend. If everyone had the same day off, this would be simple. However, in service industries this isn’t feasible. Moreover, considering the shift towards 24/7 customer service expectations, having everbody off on the same day will create a rise is customer service complaints.

Therefore, Time Management is crucial in maintaining employee wealthfare, productivity, and output levels. If possible, spread give one half of your team the Friday off and the other half the Monday. If you are a small business, with smaller teams, the effect of having people unavailable will be felt more heavily. Therefore, aspects such as clock-on / clock-off and break times must be clearly communicated to your team.

Moreover, the purpose of the 4 day working week is to reduce stress levels and promote a healthy work-life balance. Therefore, a “laissez faire” approach to time management would counter-productive. Thankfully, recent EU employment law changes now require companies to track the amount of time each employee works.

Contary to what most employees perceive, this is not a trust issue. In fact, it is an employee wealthfare issue. Time Tracking (Timestamping) provides employers with a tool to ensure that employees are taking the legally required breaks and are not overworking. Time stamping ensures employees receive the correct holiday allocations and guarantees that overtime is compensated correctly.

If implemented effectively and communicated transparently throughout the company, time tracking is actually an essential HR tool and provides both employees and employers with clarity over how much people are working and this is want makes Time Tracking essential for the 4-day week to be effective.

Become More Disciplined & Use Your IT

Delivering the same amount of work in less time is possible, but only through discipline. Make sure you set aside time each day for office chit chat, but don’t let it overrun. The same is true for business meetings. Sticking to the agenda, planning the required time allocation and reducing the small talk in your meetings will make them much more effective AND ensure that you have the time to complete your work tasks.

Furthermore, as colleagues may not have the same day off as you, it is important to become much more disciplined when it comes to progress tracking. This will facilitate the hand over between employees and ensures that tasks are repeated unnecessarily, therefore ensuring that progress is always in the right direction and maximising time efficiencies.

With this in mind, it is important to use all the tools are your disposal. At pascom, we have a number of project management tools, including jira. Every task or project should have it’s own ticket and each ticket should have a meaningful name and description and the information contained within the ticket should be as concise and relevant as possible. There is no point reading through a tonnes of information, when only the last sentence is important and relevant.

Of course, Atlassian’s Jira project management software is not the only project management tool available. Indeed, we use more tools in combination with one another including Atlassian’s Compas and for the web team, Github is essential.

How do you measure success?

The measure of success depends entirely on what you are aiming to achieve. In our case, the socio geographical demographic make up of our workforce coupled with company objectives helped determine our goals with the 4 day week. That means success for us is:

  • Maintaining employee productivity and company performance
  • Boosting employee satisifaction / minimise employee turnover
  • Increasing the number of job applicants

This begs the question, have we been successful? Well this is what happened at pascom:

Initialy, employees and managers were a bit sceptical. Then all of a sudden, a “we can do it” mentality emerged. Even pascom CEO, Mathias Pasquay, didn’t expect this as he freely admitted in his presentation at Kamailio World 2024.

Just click the link to see for yourself:

Watch Now

He even goes as far as saying that thanks to this mentality and our more disciplined approach to working we even become more efficient and productive than prior to the 4 day week, which speaks volumes for employee satisfaction!

Next on our list of goals is to to make pascom more attractive to new hires. In previous years, we have increased our regional presence through Job Fairs, we have introduced and promoted an employee Get Fit Challenge Bonus scheme, invested heavily in Corporate Social Responsibility, and even been promoting the company through sporting events and sponsorships. Before we introduced and started promoting the 4 day week as an employee benefit, we received an average of 1 or 2 applications a month. Since we have been promoting the 4 day week as the “WOW” factor in our pascom Recruiting Campaigns, we have seen a massive increase in Job Applications with between 10 and 20 per week.

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Does the Four Day Week Work?

So does the 4 day week work? For us yes and it is achievable for other companies as well.

Of course, there will always be exceptations. Any business whose revenue directly correlates to time will have difficulties with the four day week. For example, consultancy firms and businesses who charge per the hour will suffer revenue losses if they reduce the working week. Other industries where the “4 Day Week” is unlikely to be applicable for all employees include, Retail, Manufacturing, Construction, Gastronomie and Travel.

So yes, it can and does work, but accept that lot depends on your goals and there will always be challenges to overcome. As long as the 4 day week is suitable for your business, then there is every chance that the 4 day week will be successful for your company to. You just need to ensure that you have well thought out aims, a solid implementation and are willing to learn from mistakes and continually optimise your strategy - it won’t be plain sailing, but you will get there!

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