Four Day School-Week Improves Productivity

Ryan Fredrick, Reporter

Workers at Microsoft Japan enjoyed an enviable perk this summer: working four days a week, enjoying a three-day weekend — and getting their normal, five-day paycheck. The result, the company says, was a productivity boost of 40%.

Microsoft Japan says it became more efficient in several areas, including lower electricity costs, which fell by 23%. And as its workers took five Fridays off in August, they printed nearly 60 percent fewer pages.

All of the employees who took Fridays off were given special paid leave, the company says. Encouraged by the results, it plans to hold a similar trial in the winter.

Having a four day school week would benefit students and teachers. Being able to work for four days and have a three day break every week would greatly improve retention and attendance. 

If a four-day work-week worked so well in a company, why would it not work well with schools? Furthermore, Warrenton School District has been the latest out of a trend among Missouri school districts to implement a four-day school week. 

“If we have Mondays focused on care and Tuesdays through Friday focused on academics, that could really be a different model for how a school could be run,” Superintendent of Warrenton School District Gregg Klinginsmith said. 

Compacting school into just four days a week leaves more time for kids to spend with family, friends and outside interests. Older students can spend time engaging in resumé-building public service or paid work. Teachers have more time to prepare lessons and collaborate during the day.

Having a four day school week leads to better attendance, as well. After all, when each day counts as 25% of the learning, students are less likely to miss a day.  Looking forward to a three-day weekend each week leads to a greater work-life balance for teachers, which leads to improved staff morale and a positive impact on what is taught in classrooms.

So, when there are clear benefits to having a four-day school week, why do school districts still opt to have a five day week? Probably because they are still in the mindset that a full work week is five days, when in fact, the four day week has been proven to be more productive for students and teachers. School board executives are always scared to make changes to the way things have been that now when the rest of the world is catching up, they need to make a decision.