4/10 work schedule

What Is a 4/10 Work Schedule? | A Guide for Managers

Curious about implementing the 4/10 work schedule? We’ve got the details you need to help you make the right choice for your team.

Many businesses operate on the standard 40-hour workweek. For most, that entails having their employees work eight hours per day Monday through Friday.

The 4/10 work schedule is a popular alternative because it provides a number of benefits that can help your employees excel. That said, it also comes with some challenges that may make it less than desirable for your business.

Read on to learn about both.

Table of contents

What is a 4/10 work schedule?

4/10 work schedule

As we mentioned earlier, the standard model for a 40-hour workweek is having your employees work Monday through Friday for eight hours each day. For payroll purposes, many businesses reframe this as 80 hours over two workweeks (or 10 work days).

The 4/10 work schedule is a type of compressed workweek that still has team members accumulating 40 hours in a single week (or 80 hours over two weeks) but does so over fewer days.

In this alternative model, employees work 10-hour days Monday through Thursday. They then get Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off.

Here’s an example of what it that can look like:

Sample 4/10 work schedule

Week one

Monday: Work 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., unpaid lunch hour, work 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (10 hours)
Tuesday: Work 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., unpaid lunch hour, work 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (10 hours)
Wednesday: Work 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., unpaid lunch hour, work 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (10 hours)
Thursday: Work 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., unpaid lunch hour, work 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (10 hours)
Friday: Off
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off

Week two

Monday: Work 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., unpaid lunch hour, work 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (10 hours)
Tuesday: Work 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., unpaid lunch hour, work 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (10 hours)
Wednesday: Work 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., unpaid lunch hour, work 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (10 hours)
Thursday: Work 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., unpaid lunch hour, work 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (10 hours)
Friday: Off
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Off

As you can see, employees still accumulate 40 hours in one week and 80 hours in two weeks, but they do so over four days each week instead of five.


The off day

The 4/10 work schedule is flexible in that it can accommodate different days off during the week. This feature can help provide coverage so your business can stay open for a full five- or six-day workweek while still allowing your employees to only come in four days per week.

To make this possible, you can divide your crew into two teams (A and B).

  • Team A works Monday through Thursday and gets Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off
  • Team B works Tuesday through Friday and gets Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off

You can also cover a six-day workweek by dividing your crew into three teams (A, B, and C).

  • Team A works Monday through Thursday and gets Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off
  • Team B works Tuesday through Friday and gets Saturday, Sunday, and Monday off
  • Team C works Wednesday through Saturday and gets Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday off

The flexibility of this kind of schedule is just one benefit your business can enjoy. In the next section, we’ll discuss some more.


Some companies that really want to maximize the flexibility of the 4/10 schedule also let employees pick their extra off day and set their own work hours during the four days of the week they work.

Additionally, businesses might find the 4/10 schedule useful for additional staff they bring on during the holidays or other busy seasons of the year. Temporary staff can work 10 hours per day during the four busiest days of the week, giving you extra coverage when you need it most.

On a broader level, the 4/10 schedule is just one version of several different strategies for a “compressed workweek.”

Another compressed workweek schedule is the 9/80. In this system, employees work four 9-hour days followed by one 8-hour day. The first four hours of the 8-hour day are applied to the current workweek for a total of 40 hours. The latter four hours apply to the next workweek.

After Saturday and Sunday off, employees work another four nine-hour days, with Friday off. At the end, employees will have worked 80 hours in nine days.

Benefits of a 4/10 work schedule

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1) Improved task completion

The extra hour of work in the morning and the afternoon may improve your team’s ability to complete tasks.

Although your employees may be working the same number of total hours in the week under a 4/10 schedule, they’re putting in more hours each day.

Depending on what they’re working on, they may be able to finish bigger, more complicated projects in a single day because they have more time to dedicate to them.

2) Increased productivity

A 4/10 work schedule may give employees more time to relax, recharge, and take care of obligations outside of work.

That extra day to rest or get things done in their personal lives can lead to higher levels of productivity over the four days your employees are at work.

Over the long term, your team may even experience a reduction in the type of ongoing stress that leads to burnout and the need to take extra vacation or sick time to recover.

3) Less commuting

The U.S. Census Bureau found that Americans’ one-way work commute takes an average of 27.6 minutes, as of 2019. If your employees commute one less day each week, that’s almost a full hour of time they’re getting back.

For employees who use their own cars to get to work, the extra day off each week means they won’t have to navigate traffic, use gas, or put miles on their vehicles.

For employees who use public transportation to get to work, the extra day off each week means they won’t have to deal with long commute times, and they won’t have to spend their hard-earned money just to get to work.

4) Better work-life balance

With a 4/10 work schedule, you can provide your employees with a better work-life balance. Those extra days off give them more time to schedule appointments, conduct personal business, or take a vacation with family or friends.

With a better work-life balance, your team may take fewer sick days, and your business may experience a drop in no-call/no-shows and time-off requests.

5) Incentive for potential employees

In addition to providing benefits for your existing team, this type of schedule can also serve as a hiring incentive for potential new employees.

According to a 2022 study, an overwhelming number of U.S. workers say they would support a four-day workweek, even if they had to work longer hours each day.

When you offer this benefit on their very first day, new hires can achieve the work-life balance that fits their needs right from the start. They don’t have to put in weeks, months, or even years before they can get more control over their schedule.

That can make your business more attractive and help you pull in and retain high-performing team members.

6) Environmental impact

We already mentioned that employees on the 4/10 work schedule commute less because they only have to go into the office four days out of the week instead of five.

That isn’t just a benefit for your employees, but for the whole planet. If every business currently working five-day weeks switched to a 4/10 schedule, we could save 20% of the fuel currently used for work commutes.

Although you can’t expect the entire business world to get on board, at least not yet, going to a 4/10 work schedule can be a way for your company to make a statement about sustainability.

7) Reduced stress

Less time spent in traffic while commuting and more time for “real” life away from the office can add up to reduced stress levels for your employees.

Happier employees get more done, so the positive impacts of a 4/10 work schedule on morale and productivity can keep compounding.

Plus, happier employees means less turnover, so you as a manager don’t have to stress as much about hiring and training replacements.

Challenges of a 4/10 work schedule

Challenges of a 4/10 work schedule

1) Staffing gaps

For businesses with fewer employees, allowing your team members to have an extra day off each week can lead to gaps in coverage (fewer-than-necessary employees on the job) if you don’t manage it carefully.

To make the 4/10 model work, your business may have to hire more team members than it’s had before, which, in turn, may increase your labor costs.

2) Longer workdays

The biggest challenge of the 4/10 model is the longer days your team will have to work.

By and large, employees aren’t used to working more than eight hours per day, so switching to a 10-hour day in which they start earlier in the morning and work later into the evening can be a real challenge at first.

3) Complicated sick leave

Sick leave is complicated enough as it is, but introducing a new work schedule may require you to overhaul your program to accommodate the new model.

4) Potential for burnout

If not managed correctly, the extra hours in the workday may lead to an increased potential for burnout.

To counteract this, you may need to encourage your team to focus on getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating enough food, and taking more breaks throughout the day.

5) Downtime

In some cases, your customers and other businesses may not be active during the extra hours of work that come with a 4/10 schedule. Such periods of inactivity can lead to excess downtime that may adversely affect your team’s productivity.

6) Communication and workflow

Being an early adopter often comes with challenges. Adopting the 4/10 work schedule will inevitably mean some challenges managing workflows and staying “in sync” with customers and partners still working traditional schedules

We mentioned that customers and other businesses may not be active during the extra two hours a day your team is working. Customers might also be frustrated if they want to talk to a particular employee about their account only to find out that it’s his or her extra day off.

Of course, you can cover a five or even six-day workweek with multiple teams on 4/10 schedules, but this might mean that ongoing projects are “handed off” from team to team more than they would be on a traditional schedule.

You’ll want to pay extra attention to communication between teams to ensure that no balls are dropped when one team takes over a project from another.

7) Overtime

Because working shifts more than eight hours in length can have a negative impact on employees’ health, many states have laws that prohibit the longer work days that are the norm in a 4/10 schedule.

Some states have specific exceptions in their laws for employees on a 4/10 schedule, but make sure you’ve thoroughly researched local laws for the states where your business operates before you give serious consideration to making the switch.

Tips for implementing a 4/10 work schedule

Be deliberate

Switching to a 4/10 work schedule is a major shake-up for any company. You don’t want to do it hastily.

Solicit employee opinions on changing to a 4/10 work schedule before making a decision. Although the 4/10 schedule has many potential advantages for employees, it won’t necessarily be embraced by all.

If, after considering the views of your staff, you think making the switch to a 4/10 schedule is the right move for your organization, give plenty of lead time. Ensure plans are in place to prevent disruptions to any ongoing projects during the changeover from a traditional schedule.

Pick teams wisely

Going to a 4/10 work schedule will probably mean dividing your staff up into two or more teams if you are trying to maintain five or six-day coverage. Setting the roster for each team is something you want to approach carefully.

We mentioned that using the 4/10 schedule might mean you don’t have enough employees on the job. But it’s not just a matter of numbers.

When your staff are all on the same schedule, working the same hours, you can count on being able to call upon the full range of abilities and knowledge your employees possess to get the job done.

But if you’re not careful, splitting your staff up could create gaps in capabilities. You might need to hire additional staff to ensure that each of your teams has people with the needed skills — even if you have “enough” staff in terms of pure numbers.

Test and get feedback

We’ve talked about how the 4/10 work schedule can benefit your business with higher levels of productivity, and how many employees on the 4/10 schedule have embraced it because of the improved work/life balance. However, there are no guarantees.

Before you make the switch to the 4/10 schedule, put metrics in place to objectively measure if the change has a positive impact on your company’s efficiency and productivity.

In addition to getting employee opinions when you’re considering switching to the 4/10 schedule, “take the temperature” of your staff after the switch to see how they feel it’s working out.

If you have doubts about the 4/10 work schedule, consider trying it on a trial basis for a limited period of time — say three to six months — and then assess the results.

If your business has a particular time of year that tends to be slower, that’s probably the best time for the trial, since any disruptions during the adjustment period will have less of an impact.

If the 4/10 schedule isn’t making your business stronger and isn’t living up to employee expectations, don’t fall prey to the sunk cost fallacy. Do what works best for your company.

Stay on task

Working more hours in a day is no guarantee that your staff will actually accomplish more, even with additional days off.

Many people find that they’re at their most productive in the middle of the day but have difficulty getting going in the morning and maintaining focus at the end of the day.

How can you fight the loss of focus and make the most of the day? Consider using task management tools to help keep your team working at a high level right up until the day is done.

Sling allows you to assign tasks to employees or shifts, set reminders, create checklists with subtasks, and more. Your team will be able to get more done because there will be no confusion about what needs to be done or who “owns” each task.

Optimize your scheduling with Sling

Optimize your scheduling with Sling

Whether you choose to adopt a 4/10 work schedule, a flex schedule, a rotating shift, or some other type of schedule altogether, the best way to optimize your team’s activity is with workforce management software, such as Sling.

Sling’s suite of tools includes:

These features can help make creating and implementing even the most complicated 4/10 work schedule as easy as point, click, and go.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.

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This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal, tax, HR or any other professional advice. Please contact an attorney or other professional for specific advice.

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