Four-Day Working Week – is it good for business?

From June to December 2022, a global trial has been taking place into the four-day working week.  It has now reported some impressive findings. Would it be right for your business?

Why a Four-Day Working Week?

The study looked into the impact of completing 100% of the work, in 80% of the time, for 100% of the pay.  In other words, working four days per week for the same pay.

Many roles, including HR, are fluid. When I worked four days a week, I always felt I did a full-time job in part-time hours.  There was less time for procrastination.  Less time in meetings I didn’t need to be in.  More focus on what I needed to get done and by when.  In other words, I just got on with the job.  Day five was precious to me.  It gave me time to do the things I wanted for myself and my family.

The Trial’s Findings

The study by UK think tank – Autonomy, the University of Cambridge and Boston College found the following:

  • 92% of participating organisations will continue with a four day working week.
  • Revenues stayed broadly the same (rising an average of 1.4% over a six month period).
  • 39% of employees reported being less stressed.
  • 71% of employees reported having less burn out at the end of the trial.
  • 57% of employees were less likely to leave the company.
  • 65% less sick days were taken.

In these times when we are much more conscious of employee well-being, it seems a like a four-day working week could bring benefits all round.  It could lead to a better work-life balance for employees and make companies more attractive to great staff.

Considerations for a Four-Day Working Week

It won’t be suitable for every business.  However, if you want to trial a four-day working week, I would recommend you think carefully first about:

  • Securing employee buy in. Ask for suggestions and input from your team.
  • Be clear about your expectations for the work. What key targets will they still need to meet?
  • Be clear about how you will measure the success (or failure) of the trial. Keep employees appraised throughout.
  • How would you like to arrange the days? For example, would everyone have the same day off or different days?
  • If different days, what can you do to improve communication?
  • What can you do to  improve efficiencies?
  • Do you need to retain some flexibility so that urgent matters can be covered?
  • What about those that already work a shorter working week? If their hours stay the same, their pay will need to be adjusted.
  • Recalculate holiday entitlement.

As with any significant change, I would suggest you start with a six-month trial. Be clear that if it is not successful, you will revert to current hours.  If the trial is successful, you will need to confirm the changes to their contracts.

If you would like to find out more, please contact me.

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