3 Day Work Week Schedule
With the recent growth in popularity for the 4 day work week, could a 3 day work week be just around the corner? Well many people are already working 3 days a week. Here's how they're doing it...
5 min read
8 Jun, 2022
As you could probably tell by the name, we're big proponents of the 4-day workweek here at 4 Day Week. The 5-day workweek is outdated, damaging, and suboptimal. Long story short, we're glad that people, companies, and even entire countries are starting to seriously consider implementing 4-day workweeks.
But in this article, we're taking things a step further. We're going to be breaking down the benefits of a 3-day workweek and explaining how you might be able to make this a reality.
So, without further ado, let's get started!
What Does a 3-Day Workweek Look Like?
At the moment, 3-day workweeks are mostly hypothetical. As you'll see in the sections below, there are companies that have adopted a 3-day week structure, but they're few and far between. For that reason, there isn't a ton of data on what a 3-day workweek looks like in practice.
However, there are a few 3-day structures that show a lot of promise:
The 3/15 Structure
With the 3/15 structure, employees work for 15 hours on 3 days of the week, for a grand total of 45 hours worked per week. The days worked are typically spread out so that employees have at least one weekend day in between workdays, but this isn't a requirement.
Maaemo—a three-time Michelin star-winning restaurant from Norway—is a huge believer in this structure. All restaurant staff work for 15 hours on 3 consecutive days a week, followed by 4 consecutive weekend days. Work days and weekends are staggered so that the restaurant is always fully staffed.
The 3/12 Structure
The 3/12 structure refers to a work schedule where employees clock in for three 12-hour days a week, totaling 36 hours.
Often seen in healthcare settings, particularly among nursing staff, this format offers the advantage of extended consecutive days off, allowing professionals a longer uninterrupted rest period.
The 3/9 Structure
As you've probably guessed, the 3/9 structure means working for 9 hours on 3 days out of the week. In the US, this structure is legally counted as part-time work, with only 27 hours total worked per week. That means it may impact your ability to access health insurance—something that isn't an issue in most other countries.
This structure is most notably used by Tyson Foods in their processing plants. After years of research, they found that this was the optimal workweek for their employees in terms of both productivity and safety. In addition to the extra time off, the company pays workers for 36 hours of work and gives them access to company health insurance.
The 3/8 Structure
Last but not least, we have the 3/8 structure—8 hours of work on 3 days of the week for a grand weekly total of 24 hours worked. This is the shortest workweek on our list and definitely puts workers in the range of part-time work.
As far as we know, only one company is currently testing this structure with employees. Slice is an Indian fintech company that is currently testing out the 3/8 structure, offering new hires 80% of full-time pay and full access to company benefits.
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What Are the Benefits of a 3-Day Workweek?
So, now that we've gone over a few of the most promising 3-day workweek structures, it's time to talk about the benefits of this type of work schedule.
One of the most commonly cited benefits of a shorter workweek is increased productivity. The logic behind this is pretty simple—when you have less time to work, you're forced to work more efficiently.
In fact, there's research to back this up. A study from the Japan found that when employees were given a 3-day weekend, they came back to work more rested and refreshed, leading to a 40% increase in productivity.
In addition, that same study found that employees who worked fewer hours were much more productive with their time than those who worked longer hours.
Improved Work-Life Balance
Another big benefit of a 3-day workweek is improved work-life balance. This is because workers have more time to devote to hobbies, family, and other nonwork pursuits.
A study from the United Kingdom found that employees who worked fewer hours reported higher levels of work-life satisfaction than those who worked longer hours. In addition, they also reported higher levels of job satisfaction and commitment to their company.
Lower Stress Levels
In addition to improved work-life balance, shorter workweeks also lead to lower stress levels. This is because workers have less time to worry about work when they're not at work.
A study from the India found that employees who worked fewer hours reported lower levels of stress than those who worked standard 9-5 hours.
Improved Employee Retention
Finally, shorter workweeks can also lead to improved employee retention. This is because employees are more likely to stick around at a company that offers a good work-life balance.
A study from Pew research found that one of the leading causes of employee turnover was working too many hours. That implies that employees who work fewer hours are less likely to quit their job than those who worked longer hours!
Fewer days traveling to work means saving time and reducing transportation expenses. This can also lead to a decrease in overall stress and a reduced carbon footprint for those who drive to work.
How To Get a 3-Day Workweek? (3 Methods)
While the idea of a 3-day workweek may seem like a pipe dream, there are actually a few ways you can make it a reality:
Method 1: Negotiate with Your Boss
One of the easiest ways to get a 3-day workweek is to simply negotiate with your boss.
If you're a high performer at your company, chances are your boss will be open to the idea of you working fewer hours in exchange for continued high performance.
To increase your chances of success, come prepared with a well-thought-out proposal outlining how you'll continue to meet (or exceed) your job responsibilities while working fewer hours.
Method 2: Start Your Own Business
If negotiating with your boss doesn't work, another option is to start your own business.
This way, you'll be in charge of your own work schedule and can structure it however you see fit. Of course, starting your own business is no small feat. But if you're up for the challenge, it can be a great way to get the 3-day workweek you've always wanted.
Method 3: Join a Company That Offers a 3-Day Workweek
Finally, another option is to simply join a company that already offers a 3-day workweek.
While these companies are still relatively rare, they do exist. And as the demand for work-life balance increases, it's likely that more and more companies will start offering this benefit to their employees.
So if you're dead set on getting a 3-day workweek, keep your eyes peeled for companies that offer this perk.
The Bottom Line
A 3-day workweek may seem like a pipe dream, but it's actually a realistic goal if you're willing to put in the work.
Whether you negotiate with your boss, start your own business, or join a company that already offers a 3-day workweek, there's no reason you can't make this dream a reality.
In the meantime, why not start browsing for 4-day workweek opportunities?