Since Covid19, there has been a real change in the world of work and employees are often looking for flexibility. Remote working is one method of fulfilling this need but the 4-day week is another approach you could take.
Back in September, Scotland was in the headlines regarding its introduction of a 4-day week for some public sector workers. It will be interesting to see the results of this trial over the coming months.
In the UK, one of the largest trials of a 4-day working week was conducted between June and December of 2022 with 61 companies taking part with 2900 employees participating. The research by an independent research body Autonomy appeared to give very pleasing results.
At the end of the six-month period, sickness was reportedly down, workers had created smarter ways to fulfil their roles whilst still being as productive, people cited they felt less stressed and most importantly the businesses still seemed to flourish.
There are many advantages it appears to implementing a 4-day working week:
- A better work-life balance
- Improved health
- More time to spend with family
- Reduced childcare costs
- More time to fulfil caring responsibilities e.g. elderly relatives
- Money saved on commuting costs
- Healthier workforce (both mentally and physically)
- Reduced sickness and absence
- More efficient use of time
- A more engaged workforce
- Business seen as progressive and forward-thinking
- Business may gain and retain key talent
However, there are things that must be considered too when bringing this way of working into an organisation.
- What will it actually look like? E.g. 37 hours condensed into 32 hours with no reduction in pay
- Communication needs to be crystal clear.
- Impact on holiday entitlement needs to be thought through.
- What industry are you in? If you are a factory with variable shift patterns it can be much harder to implement than in an office with a standard 9am-5pm work pattern. It can still be done though. Vault Brewing in Edinburgh have managed to do so very successfully.
- With the cost-of-living crisis many people might want to boost their income and do more hours rather than less.
There are no definitive conclusions regarding a 4-day working week. Trials continue and the debate for and against will rage on.
One thing remains a constant though, business entrepreneurs and leaders are really the only ones who truly know their organisations well enough to decide whether they feel it would work for them. It’s very individual.
If you are considering trialling or moving fully to a 4-day working week, Taurus Solutions HR can help you with planning and transitioning.