In the UK, we have seen a shift in the way we work and our approach to the working week, alongside work life balance becoming more of a priority. Could the 4 day week be the answer?

4 Day Week Global launched a 4 day week pilot programme (in the UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand). The programme consists of a 6-month trial programme for businesses who wish to adopt a business improvement strategy. The programme centred on working smarter rather than longer and investing in the well-being of their employees.

Employees work on a 100 – 80 – 100 model – 100% of the pay, 80% of the time, but in exchange for 100% of the productivity.

What’s not to like? Working a four-day working week for the same pay as if you were working five days sounds fantastic, but, in reality, could this really work and is this practical?

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What could working a 4 day week help improve?

The survey has stated that working a 4 day week can improve the following:

  • Productivity
  • Wellbeing
  • Engagement
  • Recruitment
  • Sustainability
  • Gender Equality
  • Innovation

The aim is that you shift how your business views work. It is no longer measured on your work hours but on results and productivity.

Working a four-day week will help support work-life balance, reducing burnout and hopefully inspiring higher levels of job satisfaction and engagement.

A shorter working week will also give your business more of a competitive edge when it comes to attracting talent into your business.

In a survey by Henley Business School, two-thirds of employers adopting a four-day week reported a reduction in costs whilst maintaining the quality of work being produced.

Is a four-day week right for everyone?

One thing to consider if you are planning to implement a 4 day working week is that you need to take your time to explore how this will impact the different areas of your business, your customers, suppliers, depending on how and when you do business. This is not a simple, easy way of working to implement. It also won’t be right for all businesses.

Businesses will need to consider how they will cover all operational hours of the business, whether all roles are able to adopt this method of working, and any contractual arrangements that may need to be considered.

This way of working may not work for some employees, and you will also need to consider any employees who are already working less than 5 days per week or part-time hours and how they will be affected by these changes.

Greater flexibility in work can play a role in increasing the inclusion of some groups. Still, many people are sceptical about whether there would be an increase in productivity over the four days without a support infrastructure.

What is the expectation moving forward?

Life has been challenging for the past few years and we have all entered into a very different world of work. Employee expectations have changed and it has become a candidate-led recruitment market.

There has been a real shift regarding what people want and expect from their employers. People’s values and motivations have changed and work-life balance features much more than it has done previously along with a stronger focus on mental and physical wellness.

The phrase “work smarter not harder” seems to be mentioned more often. Finding ways of keeping productivity at the level it needs to be but allowing employees to work for a shorter week. The perception of the 100-80-100 method means that you are working for 80% less of the time that you are now but could look very different for people depending on their job role. Adopting this change could mean reducing your working week from 50 hours per week to 40 hours per week.

Adjusting to completing 100% of work in 80% of the time could see people’s stress level’s increase as people always feel they are too busy or struggling to keep up with the demands of their jobs. This is why the implementation of such a scheme is so important, and the support to make it a success is critical.

The rising popularity of the 4 day work week is changing the way people look at work. This certainly won’t be a one size fits all approach and great consideration and planning will need to be considered moving forward should you consider reducing the rules around working hours in your organisation.

If you are thinking of implementing a change in your working days or practices, please call us today for advice and support to ensure your bases are covered.