21st December 2022

The Four Day Working Week – Will You Be Trying It?

How does the four day week work?

The four day working week typically runs from Monday to Thursday, with Friday being the additional day off. The idea being that employees get 3 days off at the weekend to have more time to spend with their families and pursue other interests outside of work. 

The four day week is a model that has been adopted by many companies around the world, including Google and Facebook. It was also implemented in the UK back in April 2018, following the introduction of new laws from Prime Minister Theresa May. These laws allow employees to take an extra day off each week without losing pay or having to make up for it later on. Many believe that it means you get paid less, which just isn’t the case with many employers. 

Why are companies doing it?

The four day week is not only good for employees, but it’s also beneficial for employers. This is because it allows them to save money on wages and reduce their carbon footprint by reducing the amount of fuel that they use. It also reduces stress levels among workers and improves productivity as people who feel less stressed are more likely to work more efficiently. 

What are the benefits of a four day work week?

There are many benefits to a four day work week, including:

  • Research indicates that people are more productive in less time – not convinced? o you find yourself being more productive at some points of the day and less in others? If you are like most people, the answer is yes. There are peaks and valleys in productivity throughout the day, so, it’s likely that some of your hours will be wasted.
  • Life is short – giving your employees additional time to spend with loved ones is always a bonus. The Coronavirus outbreak where we were separated for months at a time, employees have realised now more than ever that this time in valuable. In essence, this format should result in happier, more relaxed workers = increased productivity. 
  • Less time commuting, which effectively saves money for each employee, as well as reducing carbon emissions for those who drive, or avoids the hassle or train strikes for those who travel by train. If employees travel a long way to work every day, giving them this additional day off from the long commute can only be a bonus. 

Does a four day work week make sense for everyone?

Not necessarily. For some jobs, a four day work week may not be practical. If you are in the construction industry for example, then working on weekends might be necessary to complete projects that have deadlines. However, if you work in an office environment it is likely that you can find ways of working smarter rather than harder – such as delegating tasks to your staff or outsourcing tasks that do not need to be done in-house.

In other industries, particularly hospitality, four day working weeks are a regular occurrence – with shift work, it is much easier to adopt this style of working week. It also allows employees, who are accustomed to working late nights and early mornings, to have an additional day to catch up on seeing friends and family, or simply relaxing from the stresses of the industry. 

If you work in an industry where customers expect to be able to speak to someone Monday – Friday then you may think initially that this won’t work, but that isn’t necessarily the case, there may be another way to make it work. Such as, alternating between staff or additional days off – split the workforce into teams who take the Monday or the Friday off so that customer service does not take a hit. Or, offer extended call times into the evenings on the days you are working – this may work out better for your customers anyway. 

Is there anything employers should consider before implementing a four day work week?

The four day work week is just one of many possible solutions to a larger problem. There are many companies that have implemented the model and found it to be ineffective, or even counterproductive. The key to success is to ensure that your employees are happy, motivated and productive in their roles – this may mean reducing the number of shifts they work rather than merely changing the days they work them. It’s also important to consider the logistics of your business when implementing this model. If you work with a delivery service, for example, you may need to adjust your delivery schedule to ensure that products are delivered on time. The four day work week can be an effective way of improving productivity and employee satisfaction while reducing costs.

If you’re considering implementing a four day working week but you’re unsure how it may effect productivity – test it. Give your employees a trial of 1 -3 months to see how your turnover is effected, if it takes a significant drop then revert back to 5 days. You’ll never know unless you try. 

Companies want to attract and retain good employees and that means being flexible, offering autonomy and providing all employees with a good work-life balance. Offering this way of working could be the deal breaker between you and another company, who are offering the same money for a position. 

It’s no secret that we are living in a time where work-life balance is a hot topic. In fact, the “work-life balance” debate has been raging on for years now and it seems like this battle will continue to rage on until someone finds an answer to how we can all achieve the elusive “balance” that everyone craves. The truth is, there really isn’t a perfect solution but rather than focusing on how we can find balance in our lives, maybe we should start by asking ourselves if it’s even possible?

Paige Allison