The benefits of a four-day week in tech

A cartoon of a businessperson next to a giant calendar, marked with Xs on Monday and the weekend to represent a four-day week. Decorative: the businessperson is holding a large pencil, is dressed in a blue suit and yellow tie, and the entire scene is against a beige background.
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As employers look to improve productivity while meeting the demands of their workforce, the benefits of a four-day week are becoming increasingly clear. Many of these overlap with specific strains felt in the tech sector such as burnout and reduced output.

Results from recent trials indicate that the benefits of a four-day week outweigh any negatives and could have a transformational impact on those in high-stress roles, with improvements to employee productivity and well-being, and potentially leading to lower costs for employers.

Progressive research organization Autonomy published the results of its four-day working week trial in February 2023, run across 61 UK companies. 

In the trial, which ran from June to December 2022, firms gave workers 100% pay for working 80% of their previous hours, on the agreement that the workforce still met 100% productivity. Results showed a 65% reduction in the number of sick days, and 71% of employees reported lower levels of burnout. 

Following the trial, 56 of the participating organizations said they would continue with a four-day week and 18 confirmed they would do so permanently.

Leaders in tech could look to the four-day week model to alleviate numerous problems at the same time and improve the pride and loyalty of employees.

Benefits of a four day week in tech: Improved workflows

Many IT teams work to keep services available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Unplanned outages and downtime can be a major issue and even planned outages are frowned upon. With hybrid and flexible hours having become so widespread, asynchronous collaboration is now a norm for many organizations. So 99.999% uptime in IT services is more important than ever. 

As a result, it could appear as though the four-day week is a non-starter for the tech sector. But as Frank Weishaupt, CEO at smart video conferencing firm Owl Labs, tells ITPro, “The success of the UK’s four-day work trial provides a good opportunity for IT leaders to review their current tech stack and team processes, to ensure they are still fit for purpose and allow the wider organization to collaborate effectively and independently.”

“IT teams adopting a four-day working week need to work smarter, not harder.” This means ensuring a focus on effective communication, centered around how the team is functioning across the four days members are working, ensuring workflows are optimized, and using the full power of automation and monitoring tools.”

Streamlined workflows within IT are crucial to ensuring communication within the department is effective. The team’s working patterns will vary from individual to individual, but a system in which set days have to be worked by all employees or controls on which departments work which days might be put in place to ensure key meetings and collaborative working schedules can be facilitated. 

Clearer scheduling and more focused use of time, can end up being more rewarding to the team too, because every meeting and every work tasks is clearly goal-oriented. 

Moving to a four-day working week could also feed into and benefit from ongoing digital transformation efforts. Modernizing and using new tools or making better use of existing tools can help to deliver 100% productivity with 80% of staff working hours, with recent Autonomy analysis suggesting generative AI could help deliver a four-day week

Leaders looking to implement generative AI, a four-day week, or update and even dump legacy tech could look to rolling these tasks to jumpstart their productivity.

Benefits of a four day week in tech: Reduced burnout

IT teams are no different to any other in that a shorter working week can have significant well-being benefits. Time away from the daily grind, more time to do personal tasks that can include caring roles, enjoying being with family and friends and doing hobbies are all contributors to improved wellbeing. 

When it comes to specific benefits of a four-day week in tech, Ben Marks, founder and executive director of the #WorkAnywhere Campaign brings his perspective as an IT worker to the picture.

“Speaking from experience, being stuck behind a screen for long hours can be mentally challenging and, understandably, a lot of IT professionals need to be looking at screens for most of their working day,” he tells ITPro.

Some firms are turning to the four-day week to tackle the so-called Friday problem, while leaders aiming to boost mental health support in the workplace could look to a four-day week as a powerful antidote for work-related stress. This could be especially useful for leaders looking to address the ‘always on’ culture in cyber security which puts security workers under intense pressure and threatens the future posture of firms.


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“It’s no surprise that spending time away from screens is good for your mental health, so having that extra day to spend away from laptops and computers could have a really positive impact on people working in an industry dominated by screen time,” says Marks.

Another potential benefit of a four-day week in tech is its boons for recruitment and retention – vital at a time when the sector is in the grip of a cyber security skills shortage. Ambroży Rybicki, CEO and co-founder of software firm ARP Ideas tells ITPro that having staff with a better work-life balance “can reduce turnover and recruitment costs. It can also make the organization more attractive to potential employees, giving it a competitive edge in the IT job market.”

It may seem counterintuitive that a four-day week can also enhance productivity. But as any leader will recognize a rested worker will always produce better results and feel greater motivation. 

This is where proper time off comes into play, as Rybicki tells ITPro, for “roles that require deep focus and uninterrupted time, as it does for programmers and developers.” In this way, a four-day week may also help address the developer strain that is causing agile development to fade in popularity at large enterprises.

Rybycki adds that the benefits of a four-day week aren’t limited to these more intense roles, as “with careful planning and scheduling, all roles, including IT support, could benefit from this arrangement”.

Sandra Vogel
Freelance journalist

Sandra Vogel is a freelance journalist with decades of experience in long-form and explainer content, research papers, case studies, white papers, blogs, books, and hardware reviews. She has contributed to ZDNet, national newspapers and many of the best known technology web sites.

At ITPro, Sandra has contributed articles on artificial intelligence (AI), measures that can be taken to cope with inflation, the telecoms industry, risk management, and C-suite strategies. In the past, Sandra also contributed handset reviews for ITPro and has written for the brand for more than 13 years in total.