Many of us are so accustomed to working 5 days per week that we aren't able to envision the benefits of a 4 day work week. However, there are more benefits than you might think! The benefits are substantial for everyone involved. You gain a stronger work-life balance, and your employer will like the results as well.
Here are just 10 ways the weekday off can be spent to make your whole week great.
1. Achieving Fitness Goals
So many people wish they had time to exercise intentionally, but after a long workday, it can be difficult to find the motivation for an intensive workout. Adding a weekday off can really level up your fitness goals, whether it is taking the dog on a longer walk that day or getting a long run in to train for a marathon. It's easier to make it to recreational sports league practice on a day that you don't have work. Given the documented benefits of exercise on mood and sleep, this greater level of physical activity actually makes you more rested and energetic for work on the other days of the week.
2. Getting Car Repair and Home Maintenance Completed
Frequently, employers must make allowances for urgent car repair needs, allowing you or your co-workers to miss hours or a day of work to get repairs done so that transportation to work can resume. Similarly, some home repair requires that a household member be present during the day in order to supervise and speak to the needed repairs. By having one weekday off, it is easier to schedule routine maintenance and tune-ups on the day when you won't be at work anyway: this results in less uncertainty at work and less staring at the clock and worrying when you'll get back to the office. Everyone wins when maintenance can be done early and often instead of only in catastrophic circumstances.
3. Volunteering in the Community
People have a variety of needs and wants as individuals that don't always focus on our work; one need is to feel connected to and involved in their community. Having time for occasional volunteer work builds quality of life and a needed perspective of gratitude for one's life. Work-life balance isn't just about taking time off, but rather about taking time on for the various things in life that bring purpose and meaning, including but not limited to one's paid work.
4. Preventative and Urgent Medical Care
Medical appointments are another reason for missed work, and making appointments on one's regularly-scheduled day off gives a lot more flexibility than trying to fit that yearly physical in between all the meetings you have scheduled during the week. The greater flexibility also implicitly incentivises preventative care: if your business provides health benefits but there is no time to use them, you may find yourself using lots of sick time and even coming to work while not feeling your best. Preventative and urgent medical care alike are improved with the flexibility of a 4 day work week.
5. Spending Cash Saved From Commute and Childcare
There is a little more wiggle room in a budget if you don't have to make your commute or pay for childcare for a 5th day each week. These benefits are not insubstantial and can be used to start an emergency fund, spend quality time participating in hobbies, or save for bigger goals, like a car or home.
6. Connecting With Friends, Spouse, or Children
The extra time from a 4 day work week isn't all practical items: getting time with your significant other, friends, or children can be incredibly fulfilling and make everyone grow closer to each other. It is so important to feel grounded in a network of strong ties to others: in instances of hardship, people are stronger when they have friends and family to lean on.
7. Cooking and Housework
There is something so comforting and calming about having enough time to try a new recipe or get the house into great shape. Cooking meals at home and doing housework are much easier to accomplish when you have an extra day each week to tackle these tasks. Don't underestimate the energy boost of not having to do laundry and vacuuming after your long workday.
8. Running Errands at Low-Volume Times
Anyone who has grocery shopped in the middle of a workday will attest to the stress reduction of shopping a fairly-empty store rather than going in a crunch time on a weekend. Getting your regular life errands done on your weekday off can be a great way to make the weekend itself feel earmarked for relaxation and fun.
9. Fulfilling "Staycations"
On the other hand, going to a local amusement park, lake, or museum will also be much less crowded midday on a weekday, so maybe save the errands for another day and make a memory with your family or friends. Staycations are affordable ways to inject some serious fun into your life without spending major money on transportation and lodging elsewhere, and often we live within an hour or two drive of quite a few attractions that we haven't explored fully. The 4 day work week gives you the life margin to take advantage of such opportunities.
10. Taking a Break for a Breakthrough Later
This is the most abstract of the ways to spend your workday off, but it is incredibly important. Have you ever wrestled with a problem for a long time only to have a valuable solution come to you after you've taken a break and thought about something else? One of the biggest benefits of a day off in the work week is the idea of taking a break for a breakthrough later. Some problems don't get solved by obsessively focusing on them for hours; they are solved by letting your unconscious mind interact with other things in the world and come back to the problem with renewed insight. Well-rested workers often develop creative solutions because they left the problem and returned to it refreshed and ready to be productive.
Ready to find a career or post a career that will allow you to maximize that weekday off in your 4 day work week? Subscribe to the 30 Hour Jobs mailing list for weekly inspiration and job listings!