At the beginning of June, more than 3,300 workers at 70 UK companies started working a four-day week with no loss of pay in a trial to shake-up employees’ work-life balance with a new working pattern. This comes after a demand for four-day week jobs increased by 90%, especially in sectors such as charities, sales, distribution and catering.
As UK workers work 2 and a half weeks more a year than the European average, this blog post suggests the benefits of four-day weeks and how they may add value to your company.
· Happier employees
Having a three-day weekend leaves employees with more free time and the chance to improve work-life balance.
Having more time to do the things you love increases overall happiness and can help to increase loyalty to a company - it’s a win-win.
· Fewer health issues
According to charity Mind, 1 in 6 of us experience mental health problems in any given week.
Having a longer weekend will allow people to spend more time with their friends and family and do things that they love, which will naturally lead to an improvement in wellbeing.
· Increase in productivity levels
Discontented staff tend to distract their co-workers. The general theory behind a shorter week is that happier, more fulfilled employees are therefore more focused on their job when actually in the workplace.
Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand firm trialled a four day week. The results found that 78% of employees could more effectively balance their work and home life. This was compared to 54% prior to the experiment.
· Recruitment and retention
In the age of the millennial, being able to offer a more flexible work pattern is definitely a perk that persuades employees to stay at a company.
Research shows that 63% of businesses found it easier to attract and keep quality staff with a four-day working week. This work-life balance benefit is still a relatively rare offering and can be a great way to get the best talent through the door - and keep them engaged, too.
· Reduced costs
A four-day week can cut costs for everyone.
The obvious one is that, given the office would be closed for one extra day a week, running costs would see a significant drop
Additionally, employees would be paying less to commute and would see cut costs in expenses like lunch and coffees during the day, too.
Disadvantages of a four-day week
While the benefits of a four-day week have been noted, it is important to remember that it may not suit every business model. For example, employees may still be expected to complete the same amount of work in less hours, or experience longer shifts in a bid to squeeze five working days into four. This could impact on stress levels, wellbeing and productivity.
A four-day week will also see a decrease in holiday entitlement if employees are working less hours. Therefore, it’s best to listen to the needs of workers first and foremost before making a move to a four-day working week.
This blog post has highlighted the benefits and drawbacks of a four-day week. The viability of implementing this model within your business may depend on a company’s structure, culture and demand. This article has given some points to consider before making the move towards a new working pattern.