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Is the four-day workweek an impossible dream or plausible plan?

On this week’s episode of Secrets Of The Most Productive People, we spoke to CEO and founder of FlexJobs, Sara Sutton, about the pros and cons of a four-day workweek.

Is the four-day workweek an impossible dream or plausible plan?

You’ve probably read stories on how shorter workweeks can improve productivity and boost morale. Companies have experimented with it, and got such great results that some have decided to stick with the practice. Economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that technological advancements and economic developments would lead to shorter and shorter working hours. Eventually, we’ll all be working 15-hour workweeks.

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But this isn’t happening. Americans are still clocking long hours at work, and while technology has made some things more efficient, it has also imposed additional burdens–like the expectation that employees are contactable (and obliged to respond to messages) 24/7. Would one day off really make a difference?

On this week’s episode of Secrets of the Most Productive People, we spoke to CEO and founder of FlexJobs, Sara Sutton, about the pros and cons of a four-day workweek. She discussed why the four-day workweek might not work for everyone, but why organizations need to be open to a four-day workweek. We’ll also discuss tips on how you can ask your boss for a four-day workweek, in our recently introduced segment titled, “You might want to write this down.”

Three quick tips for requesting a four-day workweek

1. Use data. You wouldn’t go into a salary negotiation without having done your research about what the market salary is, and hopefully some sort of tangible metrics that illustrate why you deserve that pay bump.

Asking for a flexible working arrangement requires the same kind of due diligence. Make the case that it benefits the company, and show how you plan to do the same amount of work in shorter days. You need to lay out your plan of action, and articulate the research that shows how short, focused periods are the way to go.

2. Ask for an experiment. You might not even like working a four-day workweek. Ask your boss to try it for a week or two, and allow them to assess. Sometimes they need to see that you will be just as productive, and if you can show them that, they’re more likely to be open to making that a permanent thing.

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3. Push for a compromise. Sometimes no amount of research and numbers can change your boss’s mind. Be prepared to ask for an alternative that let you control your schedule.

You can find the episode on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play,  StitcherSpotifyRadioPublic, or wherever you get your podcasts. What are your thoughts and experiences with the four-day workweek? Let us know using #FCMostProductive and be sure to subscribe to Secrets of the Most Productive People so you don’t miss an episode.

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About the author

Anisa is the assistant editor for Fast Company's Work Life section. She covers everything from productivity to the future of work

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