27 Jun 2023
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The Quadrilateral Working Week: Weighing Pros and Cons

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By Tyrone Showers
Co-Founder Taliferro


In a recent exposition by Jordan Turner, Gartner examines the burgeoning popularity of the quadrilateral working week as a prospective remedy for talent acquisition and retention predicaments. While this notion may appear enticing on the surface, it is imperative to rigorously scrutinize its practicality and potential drawbacks. By broadening our purview and contemplating alternative approaches, organizations can make judicious decisions that serve the best interests of their employees and business objectives.

Questioning the Efficacy

While the United Kingdom trial alluded to in the discourse showcased positive outcomes, it is imperative to acknowledge that it may not be a panacea applicable universally. The mitigation of stress and the enhancement of work-life balance experienced by employees ought to be weighed against possible downsides, such as the ramifications for overtime remuneration and the prospect of employee fatigue resulting from protracted work shifts. Moreover, the observed 1.4% average improvement in revenue from the study may not be of sufficient magnitude to justify comprehensive implementation.

Alternative Work Structures

Rather than hastily adopting a quadrilateral working week, organizations ought to explore alternative work structures that offer flexibility and address concerns related to burnout. Options such as flexible working hours, remote work arrangements, and compressed work weeks (e.g., four 10-hour shifts) can furnish similar benefits without substantially reducing the number of workdays. By customizing these approaches to align with specific workforce requirements, organizations can uphold productivity levels and sidestep potential pitfalls associated with a complete transition to a quadrilateral working week.

Considerations for Implementation

Implementation of a quadrilateral working week necessitates meticulous consideration of operational prerequisites and managerial obligations. Concerns pertaining to the continuity of operations and equitable treatment of the workforce ought not to be cavalierly dismissed. HR leaders and managers must judiciously assess the feasibility and impact of such a paradigm shift, rather than assuming its immediate advantages. Adopting a gradual approach, commencing with a limited pilot program and incrementally expanding its scope, allows organizations to discern challenges, solicit feedback, and make informed adaptations before committing to a permanent alteration.

Individual Preferences and Voluntary Opt-Out

While the concept of a quadrilateral working week may resonate with a significant number of employees, it is imperative to recognize that it may not be congruent with the preferences or circumstances of all. Organizations ought to demonstrate deference to individual needs and provide employees with the option to participate voluntarily in such programs. For certain employees, adhering to a conventional workweek might prove more advantageous, and it is crucial to circumvent the imposition of a one-size-fits-all approach.

Embracing Innovation Beyond the Quadrilateral Working Week

Rather than fixating solely on the quadrilateral working week, organizations should broaden their perspective and explore other innovative solutions to address employee well-being, work-life balance, and talent acquisition. Embracing technological advancements, fostering a culture of flexibility, providing avenues for professional development, and creating a supportive work environment can yield comparable positive outcomes without the disruption and potential downsides associated with a radical shift in the workweek structure.


Whilst the notion of a quadrilateral working week may be gaining momentum, organizations must approach it with a discerning mindset. By questioning its practicality, considering alternative work structures, and adopting a cautious approach to implementation, businesses can make astute decisions that align with the needs of both their employees and operational requirements. Rather than limiting innovation to a singular focal point, organizations ought to explore a gamut of strategies to enhance work-life balance, employee well-being, and overall productivity.

Tyrone Showers