Bye-Bye, 5-Day Grind: Tips for Landing a Job With a 4-Day Workweek
Does a four-day workweek sound good to you? Three-day weekends forever and ever? Does that sound appealing?
If it does, we’re going to look at what your most realistic options are for getting a job with a four-day workweek.
We’re also going to talk about how to look for a four-day workweek job, how to interview for one and how to adjust to four 10-hour shifts — because that’s what most of these jobs require.
The four-day workweek is in the news because of a pilot program in the United Kingdom. More than 60 companies there participated in the world’s largest trial of the four-day workweek, from June to December 2022.
Companies said their revenue largely stayed the same — and after six months, most supervisors and employees liked it so much, they decided to keep the arrangement.
Here’s how to make it happen for you, too.
A remote job sounds pretty good, too. Check out our portal of work-from-home jobs. It’s updated daily.
How to Look for a 4-Day Workweek Job
If you’re looking for a job, the first thing you’re probably going to do is hit up one of the many free job boards you can find online. So make “4 day workweek” a target of your searching.
It’s important to refine your search and narrow it down as much as possible. Otherwise, the job site’s search engine will just throw one random job after another at you: a Pepsi delivery driver in Maine, an auto mechanic in Michigan, a family practice physician in Indianapolis… you get the idea.
It’s also important to try different job boards and to try different keywords. Some useful examples are “four day work week” or “4 day workweek” or “four ten hour days” or “4 on 3 off.”
Or, if you’re looking for a 32-hour-a-week job, be specific and search for “32 hour workweek.”
The Most Common 4-Day Workweek Jobs
When we went looking for four-day workweek jobs on Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, ZipRecruiter and other free job boards, we noticed that the same four kinds of jobs kept popping up over and over again.
We’re not saying that the following four career paths are the only way to land a four-day workweek. We’re just saying that, based on our searches of various job sites, these careers are the most likely way to do it.
1. Software Engineer/Tech Worker
To absolutely no one’s surprise, a bunch of tech startups appear to be the most common types of companies in America that are making the switch to four-day workweeks.
“Work shouldn’t suck,” the digital marketing company Justuno announced last year. “Rather, we want to encourage our team to take care of themselves, decompress, and focus on the life side of work-life balance.”
Here’s a selection of tech companies that are doing the same thing:
- Basecamp, a project management software developer
- Bolt, a San Francisco-based e-commerce company
- Buffer, a social media content publisher
- DNSFilter, a digital security firm
- G2i, a tech hiring platform
- Kickstarter, which helps projects get funded
- Nectafy, an online content provider
- Praytell, a digital communications agency
- Uncharted, a “social impact accelerator” in Denver
Obviously you need to have the right skill set for this industry. But if you do, this is one of the most realistic ways to get a four-day workweek.
We’re talking about two different kinds of driving jobs here:
- Truck drivers with commercial driver’s licenses
- Van delivery drivers, most of whom work for Amazon subcontractors
Truck drivers are highly in demand. When we searched for four-day workweek gigs on various job boards, we found listings for truck drivers. If you have a commercial driver’s license, you probably have options.
We also saw plenty of listings for Amazon delivery drivers in various parts of the country. You don’t need a special driver’s license to drive one of those Amazon vans around. But that job is certainly no picnic, and it can be challenging. It’s definitely not for everyone. If you’re looking for a four-day workweek, though, it could be one possibility.
3. Nurse or Doctor
Here’s just a sampling of four-day workweek gigs in the medical field that we found on various job boards:
- Nurse anesthetist in Pennsylvania
- Medical imaging assistant in Arizona
- Family medicine physician in Massachusetts
- Emergency room nurse technician in Seattle
- Veterinarian in Illinois
- OB-GYN in Missouri
- Optometrist in Washington
Medical professionals are also highly in demand and have more employment options than most of us.
4. Factory Worker
We found Monster to be an especially good place to find these jobs.
On any given day, employers could be looking for a forklift operator in Pennsylvania, a “warehouse associate” in Illinois, a maintenance technician at a Minnesota production plant — all with four-day workweeks.
Interviewing for a 4-Day Workweek Job
You’re going to need to convince your potential employer that you can function — and even thrive — in a four-day workweek.
Be prepared to stress how you organize and prioritize your work, and how you deal with time constraints. If you’ve ever worked a short week or weird shifts before, that’s obviously key.
“Our employees are working very consciously and we’re working hard. So we say the four days you’re here, you better be all in,” Bolt co-founder Ryan Breslow told CNBC. “You better be responsive, having incredible impact.”
Dealing With a 4-Day Workweek Job
So you’ve finally gotten yourself a four-day workweek! Congrats! Now all you have to do is survive it.
Like we said, most of these jobs require 10-hour shifts — or even 11-hour shifts with a lunch break. They’re still 40-hour-a-week jobs, but the work is done in four days instead of five.
It can be a big adjustment.
“Getting into the routine of working 10- or 11-hour shifts may be difficult after previously working eight- or nine-hour days. You may find yourself feeling more burned out at the end of a 10-hour shift,” the nationwide trucking company Schneider advises job applicants.
“However, with time and as you adjust, longer shifts will become easier to manage. Plus… having that third day off will give you more time to recharge.”
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Is a Standard 4-Day Workweek Coming to America?
Probably not anytime soon.
Our standard five-day, 40-hour workweek dates back to 1940. That’s when Congress amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to require employers to pay overtime after 40 hours of work per week.
Before that, longer workweeks were more typical.
In early March 2023, a U.S. congressman introduced a bill that would make the 32-hour workweek a national standard. Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., is trying to lower the threshold that triggers overtime pay from 40 hours to 32.
But politically, that’s a really hard sell. The vast majority of American companies aren’t exactly brimming with enthusiasm for this idea. This bill isn’t expected to go anywhere.
The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania recently asked some of its experts if the U.S. could embrace a four-day workweek.
“Never say never. But I’m not anticipating it happening anytime soon,” said Wharton management professor Matthew Bidwell. “We are a bit of a workaholic nation.”
“I honestly don’t believe our employers are going to believe that you can get as much work done in four days as in five,” added assistant management professor Lindsey Cameron. “We see the subtle pressure they are exerting to get their employees to get back into the office now.”
A four-day workweek could happen for you, though.
All you have to do is find the right job.
Mike Brassfield (mik[email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.