Lately, four-day working weeks have been big news! With Iceland recently discussing their study into the idea and many CEO’s deciding to implement it within their company, many of us have been wondering if it’s the right thing to do.
What is the four-day working week?
Traditionally, UK employees have worked a 9-5 job, Monday to Friday. Indeed, these details change depending on job roles, but most of the UK work a five day week. However, things may begin to change. The four-day week poses a new alternative solution to burnout and other discrepancies. Work four-days a week, around 28 hours, with a three day weekend. Of course, this seems appealing, especially if it shows no threat to your pay.
Iceland ran a trial through 2015 to 2019, giving workers the same amount of pay and cutting their hours from 30 per week to 25 or 26. For example, Reykjavik’s department of accountancy recorded a 6.5% increase in the number of invoices processed during the trial compared with the year before. Therefore, it may be a simple solution to many of HR’s biggest problems, such as engagement, productivity, and turnover.
Positives of a Four-day Work Week
We have seen from Iceland’s study that four-day working weeks can, in fact, raise productivity. As a result of workers having more downtime, they most likely feel refreshed and ready for their return to work. Perks and work like this, allow staff to understand that they are cared for and not just another number.
When your people feel appreciated, their engagement levels rise. They’re less likely to take off sick days or unpaid leave when they have an extra day added to their weekend. This, in turn, will improve company culture throughout.
Lower carbon footprint
Becoming an eco-conscious company should be at the forefront of many companies’ minds, given 2021’s climate crisis. Offering a four-day week means less energy used on the days in which staff are not in. In addition, there are fewer commuters.
Negatives of a Four-day Work Week
A four-day work week may mean less pay
Some companies may not want to or can pay their employees the same amount of money for fewer hours worked. In which case, many individuals may not be able to take this pay cut. Although the sound of a three day weekend is alluring, without the same income it simply isn’t an option for some people.
Additionally, there may not be enough time for some individuals to finish their work. Many may feel more stressed with the same workload and less time. However, as we have seen from Iceland’s report, this is not always the case.
To conclude, we can see that a four-day week can be a success among some companies. Although, it does need to be well thought out and is not one size fits all. If you wish to adopt the notion of a four-day work week, you will need to plan well and consult all employees.
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