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How I Negotiated a 4-Day Work Week


What would you chose:

  1. More money
  2. More time

Let me take a wild guess… you chose more time. I’m going to assume you’re a pretty pragmatic engineer who puts money into their 401k, has some investments, a decent chunk in savings, and lives below their means.

So, why are you pushing for more money during negotiations?

When I came to this epiphany I realized that I had enough money, what I didn’t have was enough time to explore other things I really wanted to do (starting my own business).

Here’s 3 steps on how to negotiate a 4-day workweek based on my experience:

1. Request a Trial Period

It’s easier for your manager to say yes to a trial period than to a permanent change. I would recommend asking for a 3 month (1 quarter) trial period starting at the beginning of your fiscal quarter. This will make it easier to quantify the work you are doing based off your team’s goals. If it is not possible to get a full quarter trial period, use your PTO to take Fridays off for a month for an unofficial trial period.

2. Quantify your Work

In order to get an easy yes from your management you need to prove that you can do just as much work in four days that most people your level can do in five. Although there is plenty of precedent of successfully administering a 4-day work week, having this data for you specifically can make the decision much easier.

Ways to Quantify Your Work:

I recommend starting your trial period at the beginning of the quarter because it is easiest to map out your work in terms of the team/individual goals.

Completion of an OKR/Project

If there was a project assigned to you at the quarter and you finished it at or exceeding expectations, that is a straight forward way to prove you can get your work done in 4 days/week.

Using GitHub Stats

If you are an engineer you can show that the number of Pull Requests that you have reviewed or merged is comparable either to yourself the previous quarters or to your peers.

Using JIRA/Ticket Stats

Similar to above, if your team tracks progress with tickets make sure you are tracking all the work you do to prove how much you are accomplishing during your trial period. Bonus points if you already are quantifying the tickets with points.

Peer Feedback

Your manager will likely ask your peers if your consistent Fridays off are negatively impacting them (especially if you are Senior+). Reach out to them when your trial period starts to ensure you are doing what you can Mon-Th to support them.

3. Present Case to Your Manager

Even if your manager knows you are deserving of a 4-day work week they will likely need to present this case to their management as well as HR. The more numbers you have for them the better.


This may look easier said than done but it is just as simple as asking! Having the right data in front of your manager can make it easy for them to say yes. And if you are looking for a new job you can even fit in these negotiation discussions before you even start.

Thanks for reading!