Advice for workers

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Demand a Four-Day Week in Your Workplace

The successful campaign for the weekend and the 40-hour working week in the 1930s and 1940s was victorious because of the trade union movement and worker power.

We are long overdue another major reduction in working time but we can't rely on all bosses to make that change without pressure from below. Building on the history of the movement for shorter working time, please use our toolkit below for demanding a four-day week in your workplace.


1. Making the Case

  • It’s a win-win for workers and employers:

    • Workers: A better work-life balance allows us to live happier and more fulfilled lives, by providing more time for rest, leisure and ‘life admin’.

    • Employers: Many workers are overworked, stressed and burnt out; whereas rested workers are better workers. A four-day week increases productivity, creativity and helps employers recruit and retain high-quality staff.

  • The 9 to 5, five-day working week is outdated and no longer fit for purpose.

    • Covid has given us a one-off opportunity for a total rethink of the world of work.

See more benefits for workers, employers, the economy, society and environment:

2. Identify Successful Examples

  • Many businesses and organisations around the world have successfully reduced their working hours to a four-day week, of around 32 hours, with no loss of pay for workers.

  • There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a four-day week. Recognise that how your workplace implements a four-day week needs to suit your specific situation.

3. Persuade Your Colleagues

  • Speak with your colleagues about it - get an idea of their thoughts and feelings and see if you can persuade them. This could be done via a work WhatsApp group.

  • Start a petition for your colleagues to sign, to later present to your bosses.

4. Persuade Your Bosses to Launch a Trial

  • Speak with your bosses (start with line managers) about the reasons and the successful examples, and present the petition from your colleagues.

  • Start by seeking a conversation about the issue, rather than demanding it directly. Many bosses want to think it over and examine the issue before committing.

  • Suggest launching a trial first. Or consider rolling it out department-by-department.

    • An incremental approach helps to iron out any operational obstacles and determine the best way for your organisation to reduce hours.

See our separate guide for employers: