A book by Andrew Barners

The 4 Day Week
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BUSINESS BOOK AWARDS 2021In The 4 Day Week, entrepreneur and business innovator Andrew Barnes makes the case for the four-day work week as the answer to many of the ills of the 21st-century global economy. Barnes conducted an experiment in his own business, the New Zealand trust…
How the Flexible Work Revolution Can Increase Productivity, Profitability, and Well-being, and Create a Sustainable Future.


Job Culture

  • We never question our current way of work.
  • Germany has the lowest working hours.
  • Automaten will take over many jobs.
  • Men face age discrimination when applying for jobs, and women are worse.
  • The current working days or hours are based on the history of work. In the past, work was limited to men in the industrial industry, which separated the responsibilities in the house between men and women.


  • The internet and smartphone changed how we work.
  • Tech working style made overwork is fashion.
  • We are connected to work anytime, which make working hours is absolute.
  • Technology increased, but employees' work environment didn't change to fit the significant change in working style from the 90s.

‌‌Mental Health

  • The internet and smartphone changed how we work.
  • Spend too much time online at work, less family, and relaxing time
  • Workers are constantly stressed.
  • A considerable increase in depression among young people.


  • Today we can't calculate productivity.
Productivity = GDP amount of all value of goods and services in a period of time divided on the total amount of working hours by all workers in the same period.
Employees retention decrees, especially with engineers as they are the shortest job tuner because of the ambition and the number of jobs available.
Be smarter and work less. Boost profitability, productivity, and employee happiness.
100/80/100 rule is when people accomplished 100% of their work with 80% of their time with 100% pay.‌‌

Before you start

Having a purpose for this initiative is very important.
I want the best culture for everyone to be the best at work and home.

We wouldn't pitch it as a one-day off or extended holiday. We want to give them a gift in exchange for delivering productivity and meeting customer standards to meet the company vision.

Tips Before You Start

  • ‌‌Remind everyone at first. We are not a charity, and we are a profitable company.
  • Start gathering data and compare yourself with similar same size companies. ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌
  • Reach out to your manager and HR.
  • There will be many questions, and as a leader, don't expect to answer them all at first.
  • Design the process with the team.
  • Use internal engagement scores.
  • Find an academic researcher to help steer the process.
  • Be honest with yourself.
  • Productivity comes first.
  • Always ask for feedback. Iterate and learn.
  • Let the numbers do the talking.‌‌
  • You need to understand how your team works together and what they want to change. ‌‌‌‌
  • The experiment is what will help you know what is missing. ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌
  • Set duration for experiment ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌
  • Be open with the team, you can say I had a hunch, but I don't know how to implement it by myself and ask them to decide how to design their own time and keep the business working as usual.

Problems to avoid

  • Lack of groundwork.
  • Top-down approach ‌‌‌‌.

Benefits of the Policy

For the People

  1. Health
  2. Having more time for family.
  3. Personal and professional growth‌‌.
  4. Travel‌‌
  5. Spend time with yourself.
  6. Inclusion.

For the Company

  1. Brand recognition.
  2. Profitability with less cost to operate 5 days a week
  3. Healthy team with fewer sick days.
  4. Retention by keeping the talents.
  5. No impact on sales.

For the World

  1. More Sustainable World by reducing carbon emissions (Less traffic)
  2. Doing more volunteer work by having more time to do more good globally, such as planting trees, cleaning streets, and voluntary teaching.
  3. Increase the time to live sustainably, care for each other, and enjoy life.
  4. Inclusion by reducing the wage gap between men and women.
Not going to work is the most sustainable thing you can do to help the world
Buy-in from everyone is necessary.
Failure is expected and we should learn from it.
Clarity on the management level is a key to selling the change to the teams.

How to do it?

1) Preparar the ground

  • Build trust with the team, create a supportive environment, collect commitment from everyone, and treat everyone equally.
  • Set conditions for the trial period.
  • Give people the chance to discuss everything.
  • Don't complicate it (Start with 80/100/80).
  • Everyone can opt-in to this policy.
  • If anyone opt-in and doesn't deliver the productivity expected, they will fall back into the old model.
  • Anyone can adjust this model based on their needs.
  • You will make mistakes in your company and find time wastage in many areas. Those should motivate you to find the current process and culture issues. Don't stop as you see those.

How may teams implement it?

  • Some teams compressed 5 days of work into 4 days a week‌‌.
  • Some teams had more stress to finish things within the 4 days.‌‌‌‌
  • Some used the fifth day for thinking and doing homework.‌‌‌‌‌‌

Remember it's all about productivity which makes time is not important today to the employment relationship. It's about the commitment and the trust between employees and employer.
Remember this program is NOT designed to give people 3 days a weekend.
Remember this is a behavior change, not just a process change.
Remember, it's a bottom-up topic, not a top-down one.

Task: Ask the team what they can do to improve their working efficiency and productivity?

2) The Announcement

The objective is to launch a team trial 4 days a week rather than 5 days a week, focusing on team productivity.

And understand if increased work flexibility and opportunity to spend more quality time with family and peruse personal interests are valued (Not only increased team engagement also increase team productivity)

Remember: the trial can't fit every team in the whole company.
Remember: a lot of pre-planning can kill the trial. The trial is space for innovative ideas
Remember, time is the scarce resources.
The Productivity policy: It's about posing a challenge to the team to deliver the current productivity with less working time.

Present with the opportunity to change and improve the staff working behavior, by:

  • Reduce any destruction or unnecessary time waste that prevents them from achieving their productivity targets within 4 days working week.
  • Reduce the time used on unnecessary and unproductive tasks and unrelated topics such as social networking use or long meetings.
Time centric model will show that even the most productive employees still do not give 100% capacity
(52/17) minutes are the ratio between productivity to break in the brain.
  • Finding and addressing any barriers to their productivity targets.
  • Finding and resolving those productivity issues will help us start measuring our products, which can have a massive impact to keep tracking those numbers.
Today companies don't measure productivity on the same level as time. It's hard to measure productivity.

3) Do Your Homework

  • Preferred before the announcement.
  • Collect and generate data to get everyone on board and convince the leadership that the proposal will be qualified.
  • You need before and after data to show the changes.
  • Report and record any actual improvements.
  • Mistake to avoid: gather the data early to avoid the high spirit o the team after the announcement.

4) Consult Your Lawyer

  • The trail is a test that can roll back anytime.
  • Treat the day off as a gift for higher productivity from the team. (easy to proceed but not fully satisfied as it is a workaround)

5) Go time 🚀

  • Create the condition for your team to do the best.
  • Do not distribute and use some techniques such as disabling mobile notification, don't disturb on Slack, an actual flag on the desk, so no one interrupts you while working or just adding a blocker to your calendar.
  • Use async communications as much as possible.
  • Don't forget to set a break reminder.
Disruption is the main reason for not feeling satisfied and accomplished at the end of the day.
Remember, even if the trial failed, we still gain confidence in measuring our efficiency and productivity for the future.
Focus on maintaining the company standards productivity improvement, not the output. If the output does not change, it will be harder to implement.

Make the people lead. Share that it's a collaboration, not a top-down decision, and its success depends on:

  • How well we share ideas.
  • How well we ask for help.
  • How well we resolve problems.

Important Tips & Reminders

  • Create many forms of feedback and communication.
  • Employees must opt-in with no change on the contract.
  • After 12 months or less, the opt-in get renewable to evaluate the trial and the impact.
  • 4 days a week is not for everyone. Some may need 5 days with fewer working hours, and Some can't change and require 40 hours working week.
  • 4 days a week is about output and productivity, and if people are fresher and more relaxed, their output will increase. If they are happy because they spend more time with family and friends, their productivity will increase.

In the end ... it's all about

Build trust, don't overthink it, start with a trial, brace time is the scarce resources, do your homework, and get good legal advice.


The 4 Day Week