It’s happening. One of the largest employers in the US is reducing its work week by one day, in a move that could forever change the way the labor force operates. 

…That’s what happened in 1926 when the Ford Motor Company moved from a 6-day to a 5-day work week. Henry Ford believed he could maintain productivity and improve worker turnover with a shorter week.

He also believed it would sell more cars. Workers would have more time for adventures, and they would need their very own Model T to get there. 

After 1926, workers organized to push for a 5-day week for all, and it was cemented into American life in FDR’s Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. That 5-day schedule rules our lives to this day, starting in pre-school. 

Economist John Maynard Keynes predicted in 1930 that we could have a 15-hour work week by 2030. In 1956, then-Vice President Richard Nixon predicted a four-day work week in the “not too distant future.” 

After nearly a century of the 5-day week, is the time finally right? Here’s what’s happening in the 4-day-workweek movement: 

  • A 6-month trial in which 61 U.K. companies adopted the 4-day workweek was a massive success: happier employees, with no reduction in productivity on average. 
  • Hundreds of companies have adopted the 4-day week for at least some of its employees, including Unilever, Amazon, Kickstarter, and tons of tech companies. (Check out this 4-day-week job board!) 
  • The benefits are backed by science. More sleep, less stress, and more time to do fulfilling activities make us better employees. Plus, our brains are wired to like deadlines. With less time to get work done, we waste less time during working hours. 
  • Rep. Mark Takano from California has reintroduced his 32-hour Workweek Act to Congress, which would reduce the standard workweek from 40 hours to 32 hours for workers with hourly jobs. “The serious conversations about the reduced workweek are happening for white-collar professions. What my bill will do is spur conversation about how we democratize this norm to other sectors of the workforce so everybody benefits.” (The bill is not likely to pass with a divided Congress and strong resistance from special interest groups.)  

The Playbook Take 

For better or worse, our work and our wellbeing are all tangled up, and most of us will spend our whole careers trying to find that mythical “work-life balance.”

At Playbook, we believe in getting the absolute most out of every hard-earned dollar and putting you on the path to financial freedom.

Tax-efficient investing is crucial for getting there, and now your employer can help you do it right with Playbook for Work! If you and your work besties want free access to Playbook, pass along the link to your benefits manager so they can learn more. And hey, might as well push for a 4-day work week while you’re at it. 

Can't wait for your employer to offer Playbook for Work? Get started today.

To financial freedom and beyond!