Understanding the 4/10 Work Schedule Revolution

4/10 work week schedule example by Shiftbase

In this article we take a closer look at the 4/10 work schedule revolution, understanding its implications and how it can be used to optimize both business operations and employee satisfaction.

What is a 4/10 work schedule?

The 4/10 work schedule means employees work four days a week, putting in 10 hours per day, and then enjoy a three-day weekend.

This compressed schedule stands in contrast to the more familiar five days per week, eight-hour days model we often see in workplaces.

Useful Read: Embracing the Compressed Workweek: A Detailed Exploration

Benefits of the 4/10 work schedule

For many businesses and their employees, this alternative work schedule has become a game changer. Here's why:

1. Employee well-being and work-life balance

With the 4/10 schedule, employees get to relish an extra day off. This not only means more relaxation and personal time but also contributes to a better work-life balance.

Fewer days of commuting translates to savings in time and money. Imagine shaving off a day's worth of commute every week!

2. Operational and environmental benefits

For small business owners and business partners, a 4/10 work schedule can mean reduced overhead costs. With one fewer day to operate a physical office space, savings can add up.

Beyond the direct benefits to the business, there's an environmental angle too. Fewer commuting days mean a potential decrease in the carbon footprint, making the 4/10 schedule a green choice.

3. Increased productivity and morale

With the compressed work schedule, there's potential for fewer interruptions during the workday. After all, working extra hours in a day might mean less time for those small distractions.

The promise of a three-day weekend can boost morale. Employees might find themselves more motivated, knowing they have an extended break to look forward to. This can lead to a surge in productivity and improved output.

Challenges and concerns

Like all work schedules, the 4/10 has its share of challenges. While the allure of a four-day workweek is tempting, employers and HR professionals should be aware of some concerns:

1. Longer working days

Packing in 10-hour days instead of the traditional eight hours can be grueling. The extended working hours could lead to stressed employees, fatigue, and in some cases, even burnout. It's a balance between enjoying a longer weekend and enduring longer days.

2. Managing team coordination

With employees working four 10-hour days, potential overlap and scheduling mismatches can arise, especially if some team members are on different schedules. This can sometimes complicate project coordination or regular team meetings.

3. Concerns regarding customer/client availability and service continuity

If the business typically operates five days a week, moving to a four-day workweek can raise concerns about customer service gaps. Some clients might expect availability on a day when the business is closed, especially if they're used to a traditional work schedule.

Tips for transitioning to a 4/10 work schedule

Considering the 4/10 schedule for your team? Here's a step-by-step guide to make the shift smoother:

  • Assessing company and employee needs: Before jumping onto the new schedule, take time to assess if the four 10-hour days would suit your business model and meet employee preferences. Understand the pros and cons, and how the change might impact your operations.

  • Communication: Changing work schedules can be a big move. It's crucial to keep communication channels open. Building awareness and setting clear expectations about the compressed work schedules will ensure everyone's on the same page.

  • Trial runs: Instead of making an abrupt change, consider running a trial. Let a portion of your team work four 10-hour days and gauge their feedback. This approach helps in testing the waters and understanding any unforeseen challenges before a full-scale implementation.

  • Evaluating and adjusting: Post-trial, collect feedback. Are there more instances of employee stress? Are 10-hour shifts more productive than the traditional working hours? Based on performance metrics and employee feedback, adjust the schedule as needed. And remember, while the 4/10 is gaining traction, there are other models like the 9/80 work schedule that might be a better fit.

Tools and software for managing a 4/10 work schedule

Employees looking at computer screen, creating employee schedule on Shiftbase scheduling tool

Adopting a 4/10 work schedule brings its own set of unique challenges. But in today's tech-savvy world, there's a software solution for almost every hurdle. Here are essential tools that can aid in managing a compressed work week seamlessly:

Time-tracking software

For both employers and employees, tracking the 10-hour workday is vital. Time-tracking software ensures that every minute is accounted for, helping in keeping an accurate record of hours worked.

Tools like Shiftbase are user-friendly options that not only log hours but also offer insights into productivity and breaks. This assists in ensuring that despite the longer day, employees are taking necessary pauses and not overextending themselves.

Communication tools

When working on a compressed schedule, clear and efficient communication becomes even more essential. Platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams offer instant messaging, video calls, and file-sharing, making it easier to address potential scheduling conflicts and maintain team cohesion.

They also allow for the creation of dedicated channels or groups, ensuring that everyone is updated and on the same page, even if they aren't working on the same day.

Useful Read: 12 best ways to handle scheduling conflicts: A Guide for HR Managers

Task management platforms

In a 4/10 work schedule, it's crucial that no task is overlooked. Task management platforms such as Trello, Asana, or Monday.com can be particularly beneficial. They allow teams to visualize workloads, assign tasks, and set deadlines.

With features like calendar views, integrations with other tools, and notifications, they ensure that despite the unique work schedule, projects remain on track and no essential tasks fall through the cracks.

Legal and HR implications

Shifting to a 4/10 work schedule isn't just about managing time and tasks; there are legal and HR implications that businesses need to consider. Here's a deeper dive into some of these concerns:

Overtime considerations

One of the primary legal concerns is overtime. In many regions, working more than eight hours a day could qualify employees for overtime payment.

For example, if local labor laws dictate that any work over eight hours per day is considered overtime, then the additional two hours each day under the 4/10 schedule might be subject to higher pay rates.

Employers need to be well-versed in local and national labor laws to ensure they remain compliant while adopting this schedule.

Useful Read: Time Off in Lieu (TOIL): Balancing Employee Rewards and Work-Life Harmony

Contract adjustments

Transitioning to a 4/10 work schedule may require adjustments to existing employment contracts or agreements. For instance, terms related to work hours, breaks, and even compensation might need to be revisited.

It's crucial to engage legal counsel and communicate any changes transparently with employees to ensure mutual understanding and agreement.

Benefits and time off

The 4/10 schedule can also have implications for how holidays, sick days, and other leaves are managed. For instance, if an employee takes a day off on a 10-hour workday, does it count as one leave day or is it equivalent to 1.25 days given the longer hours?

Similarly, if a public holiday falls on a day when the company is closed under the new schedule, how will employees be compensated? These are nuances HR departments need to address to ensure fairness and clarity.

Comparison with other alternative work schedules

The evolving dynamics of the modern workplace have given rise to several alternative work schedules. While the 4/10 work schedule has its unique advantages, it's beneficial to compare it with other popular models to provide a clearer picture of its position in the landscape.

1. The 9/80 work schedule

The 9/80 work schedule splits two work weeks into a nine-day cycle. Employees work nine 9-hour days over these two weeks and get every other Friday off, effectively providing a long weekend every other week.

Comparison with 4/10: Both the 9/80 and the 4/10 offer employees an extended weekend, but the distribution of hours is different. While the 4/10 can be more intense with 10-hour days, the 9/80 offers a more spread-out approach, which some might find easier to manage. Additionally, with the 9/80, businesses remain open five days a week, reducing concerns about customer or client service gaps.

2. Flextime

Flextime provides employees the flexibility to choose their starting and ending times within certain limits set by employers. This arrangement gives workers a sense of autonomy and can aid in balancing personal and professional commitments.

Comparison with 4/10: While the 4/10 offers a fixed yet compressed schedule, flextime offers variability. An employee on flextime might opt for longer hours on some days and shorter on others, but without the commitment of consistent 10-hour days. Flextime might be more suitable for businesses and employees looking for daily flexibility rather than a fixed, longer weekend.

3. Remote work and hybrid models

Remote work allows employees to work from locations other than the office, usually from home. A hybrid modelcombines remote work with in-office days, allowing for a balance of both.

Comparison with 4/10: The 4/10 schedule focuses on the distribution of hours within a week, while remote and hybrid models address the location and sometimes the distribution of work. Combining the 4/10 with remote work could offer employees significant flexibility, reducing commute times and potentially making 10-hour days more manageable.

Hybrid models with a 4/10 structure could be the best of both worlds, giving employees the benefits of both face-to-face interactions and the autonomy of remote work, coupled with longer weekends.

Useful Read: How to engage remote employees: Tips and Strategies

Long-term implications of 4/ 10 work schedules

Employer using a shift management tool to create employee shift schedules

As organizations globally adapt to ever-changing work environments, it's essential to understand the long-term consequences of the decisions they make today. The 4/10 work schedule, while offering immediate benefits, raises questions about its implications in the long run. Let's delve deeper into this:

Evolving work dynamics

With technology bridging gaps and enabling remote collaborations, there's a growing emphasis on work output rather than hours spent. The 4/10 work schedule, focusing on longer but fewer workdays, aligns with this shift, prioritizing productivity over the traditional 9-to-5 mold.

Flexibility and autonomy

Modern employees, especially younger generations, value flexibility and autonomy. The 4/10 schedule offers a taste of this by providing extended weekends, giving a semblance of a better work-life balance. If predictions hold, more flexible schedules like the 4/10 could become commonplace, especially for roles where work output can be easily measured and doesn't require fixed hours.

Employee health and wellness

1. Mental Health

The immediate benefits of a 4/10 schedule include longer weekends, allowing for more extended relaxation periods, and potentially reducing weekly work stress. However, longer workdays can be taxing, and over time, if not managed properly, could lead to burnout. Organizations need to be proactive, ensuring that employees have enough breaks during the day and resources to manage potential stressors.

2. Physical Health

Sitting for prolonged periods, which can be a consequence of 10-hour workdays, has its health risks. On the positive side, having three days off provides an opportunity for longer, uninterrupted physical activities and exercises. Employers can counteract the negatives by promoting ergonomic workspaces and encouraging regular breaks for physical movement during workdays.

Recruitment and retention

In the increasingly competitive landscape of talent acquisition, organizations are continually seeking strategies to distinguish themselves and attract top-tier professionals. The introduction of alternative work schedules, such as the 4/10 model, can play a pivotal role in this endeavor. Let's delve into how this specific schedule can impact recruitment and retention.

1. Attractiveness to potential employees

  • Work-life balance: The prospect of a three-day weekend can be an enticing draw for many candidates. This extra day can provide them with a more significant opportunity for personal pursuits, relaxation, or spending time with loved ones, thus promoting a better work-life balance.

  • Reduced commuting: Given that commuting can be both time-consuming and costly, fewer workdays can be an attractive proposition for those who live far from the office or deal with heavy traffic.

2. Positioning in the market

  • Innovative work culture: Offering a 4/10 work schedule can position a company as progressive and adaptable, valuing innovative approaches to work. This can be particularly appealing to the younger generation of workers who are often looking for forward-thinking employers.

  • Competitive edge: In industries where the traditional 9-to-5 reigns supreme, offering a 4/10 schedule can give a company a unique selling point, setting it apart in the eyes of job seekers.

3. Retention benefits

  • Employee satisfaction: An extended weekend can result in higher job satisfaction, as employees may feel they have a better balance between their personal and professional lives.

  • Reduced burnout: Although the days are longer, having a consistent three-day break can offer employees a more extended recuperation period, potentially reducing feelings of burnout over time.

  • Loyalty: Companies that prioritize their employees' well-being through initiatives like the 4/10 schedule can foster a sense of loyalty among their staff. When employees feel that their needs are considered and valued, they are more likely to stay with the company long-term.

Useful Read: Employee Loyalty and The Different Generations in The Workplace

4. Potential challenges

  • Not for everyone: While many may find the 4/10 schedule appealing, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some potential hires might find 10-hour days too grueling or might have personal commitments that make such a schedule unfeasible.

  • Transitioning employees: For current employees used to a traditional workweek, transitioning to a 4/10 schedule might pose initial challenges, possibly affecting short-term retention.

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While the 4/10 work schedule offers numerous benefits, ranging from enhanced work-life balance to reduced commuting burdens, its success is contingent on its alignment with individual and organizational needs.

Ultimately, the ability of a company to harness its advantages while navigating potential challenges underscores the importance of understanding, flexibility, and adaptability in the evolving landscape of employment.

Optimize your 4/10 work schedule with Shiftbase

Adopting a 4/10 work schedule can be straightforward with the right tools. Shiftbase allows you to easily set up and manage such schedules, aligning them with your business needs and employee preferences. Our features, including employee scheduling and time tracking, ensure that the transition is seamless and the implementation effective.

Ready to explore the benefits of a 4/10 work schedule? Start a free 14-day trial with Shiftbase and optimize your approach to work-life balance.

Rinaily Bonifacio

Written by:

Rinaily Bonifacio

Rinaily is a renowned expert in the field of human resources with years of industry experience. With a passion for writing high-quality HR content, Rinaily brings a unique perspective to the challenges and opportunities of the modern workplace. As an experienced HR professional and content writer, She has contributed to leading publications in the field of HR.


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