How AI Could Spell a 4-Day Workweek for 25% of Workers

A shorter workweek could be closer than you think, thanks to the growing use of tools like ChatGPT.

AI has had an instrumental impact on the workforce, helping us to work faster and smarter than ever before. But aside from benefiting the bottom lines of businesses, the pick up of tools like Gemini and ChatGPT has also brought one of the most desired employee perks even closer to reality – the 4-day workweek.

New research has found that 25% of the Canadian workforce could adopt a 4-day workweek in the next decade, while 90% of workers could see their working hours reduced by 10%, proving that the benefits of AI might extend beyond white-collar workers.

This outcome is dependent on employers prioritizing worker welfare over endless productivity gains, however, which is an assumption that many CEOs — including the founder of business automation software Kognitos — believe might be too optimistic.

AI Could Usher in a 4-Day Work Week For a Quarter of Workers

Do you spend your Fridays wistfully longing for a 4-day workweek? Well, a new report from the Work Time Reduction Centre of Excellence (WTRCoE) and UK research group Autonomy found it may not be too long before this dream becomes a reality, especially if you’re working in Canada.

The report, which correlates Canadian government workforce data with indices used by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), found that a 4-day workweek could become possible for 25% of Canadian workers in the next 10 years thanks to the rising adoption of AI technologies. It found that businesses with higher potential for AI augmentation could roll out the model without taking a hit to productivity, too.

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The results of this report chime with the findings of our own Impact of Technology on the Workplace report, which suggests that AI could indeed become the catalyst to make the flexible workplace strategy more commonplace in the near future.

Our report, which includes survey responses from over 1000 US-based business leaders, revealed that 93% of businesses that have fully integrated AI into their processes have already rolled out – or are considering adopting – a 4-day workweek. This is compared to only 41% of businesses that weren’t using AI in their workplace, suggesting that a companies level of AI use is a huge determining factor when it comes to deciding whether to drop a working day.

These findings will undoubtedly be exciting to those who work for organizations with high levels AI literacy. However, with the 4-day workweek’s main critique being that its benefits are reserved for desk-based, high-income workers, what did WTRCoE’s report reveal about AI’s implications for the wider workforce?

AI Revolution Won’t Just Benefit White Collar Workers

According to WTRCoE’s recent report, white-collar workers are more likely to experience a 4-day workweek than those working in industries like hospitality and manufacturing for example. However, this doesn’t mean the benefits of AI won’t be felt far and wide.

Data compiled in the report suggested that 90% of the Canadian workforce could reduce working hours by 10% in the next decade, with an impact being felt across most major industries. It also found that in terms of geography, the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta, and Nova Scotia have the highest proportion of workers who could work four days.

“In most healthcare sectors and services globally, there is a significant volume of work which is administrative which is about managing the kind of scheduling and the arrangements of care where actually AI tools and technologies could make a real difference.” – Joe O’Connor, CEO of WTRCoE 

CEO of WTRCoE, Joe O’Connor, was keen to debunk myths that the AI revolution won’t benefit employees working in high-pressure industries like healthcare. When speaking to Yahoo Finance Canada he explained that while most people think a 4-day workweek could never be possible for healthcare professionals, AI tools could actually play a major role in streamlining administrative processes like scheduling and appointments, freeing up time as a result.

Could AI Create an Always-On Culture That Makes Us Work More?

The report does contain a pretty major caveat, however. This gradual move to a 4-day work week relies on what O’Connor describes as a “choice” for employers. He tells Yahoo Finance Canada that while the conclusions about productivity gains “hold up pretty clearly” in the data, the results hinge on whether employers choose to utilize this productivity to benefit their bottom line, or to reduce hours worked by employees.

“If it becomes a choice, do we bank all of those productivity gains against the bottom line or against cost savings such as job reductions or do we design a model societally and economically where that benefit is shared and distributed more equitably between corporations and the workforce?” – Joe O’Connor, CEO of WTRCoE 

O’Connor’s anxieties reflect concerns held by business experts, including Binny Gill, founder and CEO of Kognitos, a company that leverages AI to automate business processes. Despite founding the business with the intention to spare up worker time, Gill works weekends, and he tells Business Insider that advancements in AI could lead to us working more by exasperating the “always-on” culture that is already felt across the workforce.

“Humans will do less manual work, but they’ll be on call all the time because the companies are not going to sleep because it’s all about competing with your competition, which is not going to sleep,” he explained, adding “regular companies will use AI just to stay in the race”.

With many business owners under increasing pressure to improve profits in the face of challenging economic headwinds, many experts also fear that the uptick of AI will result in more employers replacing workers with the technology. The truth is the AI revolution will impact every worker differently, but one thing remains certain — the employment landscape a decade from now is guaranteed to look a whole lot different, as AI continues to transform the way we work and live.

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Written by:
Isobel O'Sullivan (BSc) is a senior writer at with over four years of experience covering business and technology news. Since studying Digital Anthropology at University College London (UCL), she’s been a regular contributor to Market Finance’s blog and has also worked as a freelance tech researcher. Isobel’s always up to date with the topics in employment and data security and has a specialist focus on POS and VoIP systems.
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