The 4 Day Working Week

The 4 Day Working Week

4 days of work? 3 day weekend? The concept of a 4 day working week has long been mooted, even before covid. But with the accelerated evolution of the working world as a result of the pandemic, we are increasingly seeing and hearing the principle discussed more seriously than ever before.   What does it all mean and will it happen? Atom bank recently introduced a new 34 hour, four day working week with no change in employee’s salary. Will more companies follow suite?

A range of research studies have highlighted significant benefits of a four day week. Generally, this four day week is a 32 to 34 hour working week with no loss in productivity, pay or benefits with the key idea being to achieve the same results in fewer hours; giving people more time to pursue other interests and generally having more free time. This can lead to increased productivity and employee engagement as workers are incentivised by having a day off to work harder throughout the week. Companies can reap the benefits through increased sales, reduced worker burnout and improved employee retention. From a social responsibility perspective, working four days a week can lead to a smaller carbon footprint due to fewer hours in large offices and less people commuting. This was shown by a trial conducted in the state of Utah in the US indicating a significantly reduced ecological impact.

Whilst there is a compelling argument for this new working week structure, there are also disadvantages. Some companies that have already made these changes have used it as a way to cut costs and have cut employees pay. Additionally, some would argue that by cutting a day out of the week, means to add extra hours to the 4 remaining days. In some instances, this could mean up to ten hour days which may have the opposite intended effect; reduced productivity due to the intensity of the days on employees. Additionally, operating only four days in a week will only suit certain sectors and would be extremely challenging to manage for seven day a week services requiring more complex staff or shift management. There are signs that customer satisfaction could fall with offices and services not accessible across the whole week.

Predictions for the future
Looking ahead, there is promising evidence to show that with the introduction of hybrid working, companies are seriously looking into restructuring the working week. The likelihood of more organisations bringing in the four-day work week is high. The continual rapid development in technology and AI could help bridge the transition and phasing in of the four day week making sure services are accessible throughout, including days off. In addition to this, some companies could use this as an opportunity to entice a younger workforce in which this would appeal to in order to get ahead and this could see shifts in demographics from a macro perspective.

From a recruitment point of view, keeping employees and employers happy and productive is a top priority, so if introducing this new way of working will help to achieve this and position you as an employer of choice, why not consider it? To get a broader view on what the market is considering to ensure you positioning your brand employer brand effectively, please reach out to us:

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