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A 4-day work week – could it be more productive?

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Since the pandemic, many of us look at ways of achieving a better work-life balance. The working from home and hybrid working have been successfully adapted by many companies in the UK, giving their employees more flexibility, saving time and cost associated with commuting and allowing a better work- life balance. But what if we took the next step in that direction and reduced the number of working days from 5 to 4? Doesn’t that just sound wonderful? What comes to mind is those shorter weeks when there is a bank holiday or maybe just taking annual leave for that one day. I’m sure we can all remember how great it felt to have that one extra day. That one day that you wish you had on your way to the office every Monday morning. But could returning after a longer weekend off also mean that the (shorter) week ahead will be more productive?

The best way to find out is simply a trail. 4 Day Week Global can support you in that. They are a not-for-profit community encouraging employees, businesses and governments to implement a 4-day week as a new way of living. The numbers 100-80-100 are used to describe the concept: 100% pay for an 80% of time in a typical working week as we know it at 100% of the employees’ productivity. Their support includes help in implementing trials as well as measuring the success rate of it.

According to their website, the ‘working smarter rather than longer’ model can bring the following benefits:

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved wellbeing of employees, with lower stress levels and higher job satisfaction
  • Creating an environment focused on result instead of time spent in the office
  • A way of attracting talent- a shorter working week might just bring in the better job candidates, retain the loyal employees and, what comes with it, reduce costs associated with training new staff
  • Reduced carbon footprint through reduced commuting and utilities usage.

Of the 33 companies participating in the 6-month trial, 27 filled out the final survey where they were asked about their overall experience and whether they would be continuing with the 4-day week.

On a scale of 0-10 where 0 is very negative and 10 is very positive, they rated the trial a 9. When asked about how their overall company performance was affected by the trial, the average score was 7.6. In response to a question about how their company’s productivity has been affected by the trial, the average score was 7.7. The majority of those 27 companies will continue with a 4-day week.

And what did the employees notice? Improved score on quality of sleep, increased time spent on physical exercise, feeling less burnt out at work, lower fatigue levels- the list goes on. No wonder 96.9% wanted to see their employer continue with the 4-day week.

Who knows, maybe some day a 4-day week will be the new normal. Just like the hybrid working and working from home is getting to be the norm now.