With all the bank holidays of the year over, we’re re-lighting the ongoing debate of the 4-day working week, and whether it would work in the United Kingdom.
At face value, an extra day off sounds brilliant. A day to do the food shop, go for lunch, or catch-up on a Netflix show without eating into the standard weekend. However, there is a whole host of factors to consider when planning the logistics of this outcome.
What is a 4-day working week?
You may already know someone that works compressed hours and as such works full-time over 35 hours over 4 days. This is not uncommon for some.
But the four day work week that is being proposed isn’t this at all. It isn’t a compressed work schedule, but rather reduced hours. So, the employee would work around 28 hours over four days and have a three-day weekend.
A 4 day work week is a relatively new concept, brought about largely due to recent advancements in technology. However, some companies are already trialling the idea with promising results for both employees and employers. We’ve gathered a sum of benefits to the system:
Overworked employees are actually less productive than employees working an average or normal working week. Read that again.
To put into context, with less days in the working week, workers will maximise their time more efficiently to make sure everything is completed. No more lulling around knowing you have a lesser timeframe in which to get things done.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit to the 4 day working week, it shall allow for more time outside of work to manage personal errands and spend time on families and hobbies. Therefore maximising an individuals quality of life.
Better Employee Engagement
A 4 day week can lead to happier and more committed employees. Employees are less likely to be stressed or take sick leave as they have plenty of time to rest and recover. As a result, they return to work feeling ready to take on new challenges.
From 2015 to 2017, Sweden conducted a trial study into a shorter work week. Nurses at a care home worked only 6 hours for five days a week. Results were largely positive with nurses logging less sick hours, reporting better health and mental wellbeing and greater engagement as they arranged 85% more activities for patients in their care
A Smaller Carbon Footprint
Countries with shorter working hours typically have a smaller carbon footprint so reducing our work week from 5 to 4 days could have an environmental benefit too.
Shortening our working week means that employees don’t need to commute as much and office buildings are only in use four days a week. Thats if employers haven’t already implanted the work from home scheme.
While there are certainly a whole host of benefits to a 4 day work week, there are also a few disadvantages. Here’s our summary:
A study in Utah argues that a 4-day working week decreases customer satisfaction massively. In their study of the week, they said Customers complained that they were unable to access government services with offices closed on a Friday.
Using technology, like chatbots and AI-powered websites, could solve issues related to customer satisfaction as it would allow customers another avenue of support rather than relying on officebased staff members. However, if you don’t have access or capacities for this, not being around on a Friday could hinder you. Wrong Approach
Many confused the concept of a 4 day work week with compressed hours. And as we stated at the start, this isn’t what the structure is.
Employees who are expected to still work 35 hours, but across 4 days will actually show decreased levels of productivity and it can also impact employees’ engagement, work-life balance and overall happiness. To achieve the desired effects a 4 day work week should consist of standard 7 hour work days.
Need some help navigating what’s best for your business? Get in touch with us here at EPQ