Show me the money: The real cost of a four-day week

From more flexibility surrounding working hours and working location to a reassessment of the way we work and its impact on our emotional and physical wellbeing, the traditional 9 to 5 is coming under increasing scrutiny. 

man at work

If someone gave you the opportunity to work a four-day week instead of a five-day week, would you do it if it meant a 20% reduction in pay? 

That’s one of the questions we asked* in this year’s Jobbio Work Happy Index 2024 survey, it turns out the vast majority (68.29%) of respondents wouldn’t trade the traditional five-day week for a four-day week if it meant earning less money. 

Future of the four-day week

Despite most people not being in a position to work less and get paid less, the 4 Day Week Global initiative is trying to take the idea of work-life balance one step further. 

The pilot scheme which has been adopted by 91 companies and approximately 3,500 workers in the UK, U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Ireland and Portugal and involves reduced working weeks with no change in pay—or productivity—is gaining momentum thanks to the positive results it has produced. 

Despite working less hours, companies experienced an average revenue increase of 1.4% during the course of the trial, and when compared to a similar period from previous years, organisations reported revenue increases of 35%. 

Money plant

68% of respondents wouldn’t trade a five-day week for a four-day week if it meant earning less money.


In addition, staff attrition reduced and 55% of employees shared that working less increased their ability to get more work done, 71% said they experienced reduced symptoms of burnout and 43% of those who have taken part in the trial have seen an improvement in their mental health. 

Additionally, 15% said no amount of money would convince them to return to a traditional five-day week. 

Little wonder then that 91% of organisations that have participated in the scheme plan to continue working a four-day week. 

Trade off

While all of the above examples of the benefits of a four-day week might sound like a no-brainer, thanks to the continuing cost of living crisis and high inflation rates, taking a reduction in pay is simply not possible for most people. 

However, one way to try and negotiate more pay for less time spent sitting at your desk is to move jobs—the average salary increase for job switchers is 14.8%. 

Another way to weigh up the value of your output is to benchmark your salary on a site like Glassdoor, or by asking your colleagues or close friends within your industry for a ballpark figure so you can compare what you’re being paid versus your skills and experience. 

You can access more insights from the Jobbio Work Happy Index  or check out our Cheat Sheet series which includes advice on how to write your best ever CV, how to approach a cover letter, and what the different interview stages really mean


We evaluated survey respondents from our database of working professionals. Our goal is to identify attitudes around working models, benefits, AI and job applications in 2024.
Our findings from 514 individuals surveyed in May 2024 have provided insights for this report.

Author Aoibhinn McBride

More posts by Aoibhinn McBride

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