Four 4 day work week SA

Some South African companies will be trialing a four-day work week. Image: Adobe Stock

Friday freedom: Has the four-day week finally arrived in SA?

Where do we sign up? The popular four-day work week is gaining traction in several countries, including in South Africa!

Four 4 day work week SA

Some South African companies will be trialing a four-day work week. Image: Adobe Stock

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced employees to ponder the demands that their work is having on their mental and physical well-being. In an attempt to meet employees halfway, some organisations have agreed to trial a four-day work week.

A number of organisations are taking part in a pilot project, which is trialing the efficacy of a four-day work week, in a bid to improve working conditions for their staff so that employees can achieve a better work/life balance.

And for pundits of the project taking off in South Africa, there is good news. Local organisations can take part in the trials.


Pilot projects have successfully been trialed in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, the United States, United Kingdom and many others.  Results have shown that productivity has not dropped despite the reduced working hours.

More than 70 firms in the UK are taking part in a scheme where employees get 100% pay for 80% of their normal working hours.  The trial is being run by 4 Day Week, a group campaigning for a shorter working week, along with think tank  Autonomy, and researchers at Cambridge and Oxford universities.

Of the 73 companies in the trial, 41 firms responded to a survey taken midway through the scheme. Around 86% of those surveyed said they would keep the four-day week policy going after the trial ends.


The majority of firms said the scheme is working well for their business, with 95% saying productivity had stayed the same or improved during the shorter week.

Many of the UK firms taking part in a four-day working week trial have said they will keep it in place after the pilot ends. Some old-fashioned companies that are taking part in the trial have found the shift to a four-day week more challenging.

The BBC reports Joe O’Connor, chief executive at 4 Week Global, which is running the scheme across a number of countries saying,

“We are learning that for many it is a fairly smooth transition and for some there are some understandable hurdles – especially among those which have comparatively fixed or inflexible practices, systems, or cultures which date back well into the last century.”

ALSO READ: Four-day work week gains momentum across the globe


The question on the tip of our tongues is whether South Africa is ready for the four-day work week.

Speaking to Charlotte Lockhart, founder and managing director at 4 Day Week Global, 702’s Wasanga Mehana discussed where South Africa stands on the matter.

“All of the evidence shows that companies can maintain and improve their productivity, and have all their staff working reduced times. But we’re not saying reduce pay. We have a principal called the 100-80-100 rule. That’s 100% pay, 80% time and 100% productivity.” Lockhart said.

Adopting a four-day work week is not about taking things easy. It’s about streamlining productivity and collaborating with employees’ needs. The ability to achieve the same work in four days as opposed to five, is also good for a company’s bottom line.

 Companies in South Africa are invited to trial the four-day work week HERE.