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Is It Time for a Four-Day Work Week?

How much happier would you be right now if today was your Friday? If Forbes contributor Richard Eisenberg had his way, it would be.

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(Photo Credit: Joe Lanman/Flickr)

"Today, harried five-day-a-week workers must routinely, and sometimes furtively, scoot out for doctor's appointments, errands and elder care duties for their parents -- and they're doing so more often," Eisenberg writes. "Employers often don't like it when staffers head out for these reasons."

Benefits for Employers

Only 36 percent of employers currently offer four-day work weeks, according to Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute, and then only to some employees, generally by special arrangement.

That's a shame, because employers are losing the hours anyway: Eisenberg quotes Captivate Network's Homing from Work survey, which says that there's been a 31 percent increase in errand-running since 2011. Although, a cynic might wonder if some of these dentist appointments and trips to the bank are secretly job interviews, the result for the employer is the same: lost time and lost work.

Benefits for Employees

In addition to the obvious work-life balance benefits, a flexible schedule has psychological benefits for employees, who feel more appreciated by their employers and less stressed in general. A four-day work week has advantages over other flex arrangements, because it allows workers to essentially extend their weekend, which makes it easier to devote that time to recreation, rest, and hobbies.

Caveats

One downside to the four-day work week, Eisenberg says, is that some workers might find the typical ten-hour day tiring.

"I'm 52 and I don't have the energy I had when I was 22," Jessica DeGroot of Third Path Institute tells Forbes. "With a 4/10 schedule, I'd need the other day to recover and that defeats the whole purpose of a four-day workweek."

Even for energetic folks -- or people who are used to pulling longer days, anyway -- the 4/10 split can be a challenge. If you get an extra day off a week, you're not as likely to get sympathy from your manager if you do need time off during working hours.

Still, it's worth adding the four-day week to our ever-growing list of options, when it comes to flextime.

Tell Us What You Think

Would you want a four-day work week? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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