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The Battle of Workweek Norms: Four-day Versus Six-day Workweek Debate Intensifies

As Sen. Bernie Sanders advocates for a 32-hour workweek, some companies explore six-day schedules for improved global communication.

The Battle of Workweek Norms: Four-day Versus Six-day Workweek Debate Intensifies

Store associates tend to work 30 hours each week.

Early last month, Sen. Bernie Sanders put out a call for a national four-day workweek. In an op-ed column on CNN.com, Sanders wrote “that despite massive growth in technology and skyrocketing worker productivity, millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages. In fact, 40 percent of employees in the United States are working at least 50 hours a week, and 18 percent are working at least 60 hours.”

And that needs to change, he said, and called for a 32-hour work week.

According to Bulletin.com, there are more than two dozen companies piloting four-day workweeks of 32 hours total, including ThredUp, Kickstarter, Awin and Panasonic. Advocacy groups such as 4 Day Week Global say working 32 hours can increase a company’s revenue by 36 percent while decreasing employee resignations by 42 percent. All the result of less fatigued and well-rested employees.

But some companies are moving in the other direction. Samsung, for example, is mandating its top executives work six days a week as a way to bolster productivity.

In a report from ResumeBuilder.com that surveyed 753 business leaders, 9 percent of respondents said they anticipate their company mandating full-time employees to work six days a week in 2025.

“Additionally, 79 percent say their company will expect employees to work five days a week and 11 percent indicate a four-day workweek model,” the report’s authors said. “Regardless of company plans, 7 percent of business leaders advocate for a six-day workweek, 61 percent for a five-day workweek, and 31 percent for a four-day workweek.”

Stacie Haller, chief career adviser at ResumeBuilder.com, said it is surprising “that any company would look at expanding the workweek, especially for their full-time employees, rather than condensing the workweek to meet the needs and wants of their employees.”

However, Haller said companies considering implementing six-day work weeks tend to be “large international organizations or companies heavily involved in global business. This model facilitates better communication and coordination among teams across the globe and time zones, as the additional day ensures more overlapping working hours. Additionally, opting for a longer work week may serve as a means to avoid the necessity of hiring additional staff.”

The report’s authors said the main perceived benefits of working six days a week are increased revenue and improved productivity. “Conversely, the primary perceived benefits of a four-day workweek include enhanced work-life balance, better mental health, higher morale, increased retention, improved productivity, and reduced burnout,” the report stated.

In retail, most of the positions are part time and hours can vary. Retail store associates work, on average, 29.1 hours each week, which is down from 30.2 hours a year ago, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retail store managers, on the other hand, tend to work 40 to 50 hours each week. This fluctuates due to extended seasonal store hours, such as those implemented during the fourth-quarter holiday shopping season.