A 4 Day Working Week and Our Thoughts

Posted on 25 January 2022

​We’re sure you’ve already heard about the UK trialling a 4 day working week and if you look back at our latest blog on ‘What Are the Best Employee Retention Strategies for 2022’, this ties in nicely. There we discuss the ‘Great Resignation’, a current issue that has no doubt encouraged a 4 day working week trial, as well as the global pandemic demonstrating how possible flexibility in the workplace can be.   

A 100:80:100 model will be applied whereby 100% of pay will be given for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment of 100% productivity. A handful of other countries have trialled or are trialling a 4 day working week (with this model applied), such as Iceland, Japan and Spain.

Iceland did this from 2015 to 2019 where they saw a traditional working week of 40 hours cut down to 35-36 hours. From articles published late last year, 86% of Iceland’s workforce have either moved to shorter hours for the same pay or will soon gain the right to.

Amazingly, when Microsoft Japan trialled this, they saw a 40% increase in productivity.

Now it’s our turn to give a go! As of June this year, 30 companies in the UK will take part in a 4 day working week over a period of 6 months, working up to 35 hours per week.  

Benefits of a 4 day working week

There are a number of benefits that can be seen as a result of a 4 day week. For the employee, there is a stronger work-life balance which can reduce stress, increase productivity and employee engagement. Similarly, the social impact is evident in that there is opportunity to become more involved in family life, hobbies and any other social elements.

For the business owner, there is the benefit of retaining employees due to the points outlined above and as such, reduces cost in having to employ and train new members of staff.

Furthermore, there is the environmental impact a 4 day week can bring. In the UK alone, it can reduce the carbon footprint by 127 million tons per year which is the equivalent of taking 27 millions cars off the road. Evidence of this now being heavily supported by the public: one petition on change.org, in support of adopting a four-day week to slash carbon emissions, has been signed by over 50,000 people.

Risks to consider

With any attempt to enforce change, there are risks. Most importantly, there would need to be clarity and guidance as to how a 4 day week would be implemented.

Some issues that may arise include the managerial teams and employees feeling concerned about getting the same amount of work done in a shorter amount of time which in turn, becomes stressful and unproductive. Perhaps, even leading some employees to work outside of agreed hours, totally defeating the purpose of what’s intended.

What some of the DS Group team had to say…

Some of the team were asked a few questions about what they thought about implementing a 4 day working week and this is what they had to say.

What do you think are the positives of a 4 day week?

I think positives would include coming to work feeling more refreshed after having three days off. It would allow for a better work/life balance overall. The chance to get more done in one sitting/day.

“You get another day off to relax and recharge – productivity would definitely be higher for the following week”

“More time to rest/leisure which makes you perform better when in the office”

“Stress relief, get to see my dog, get to spend time with family and less travel money per week”

Are there any negatives?

“Cuts a whole day out – would probably mean less overall productivity.”

“There are no negatives”– haha, this person’s definitely for it!

May distract you from a project or maybe you’ll miss out on some key info”

What would you do with an extra day off in a week?

“REST”

“I’d use the Friday to get things done at home that I wouldn’t have time to do in the week”

“Sleep or maybe have a bath”

“Cook, clean, spend time with family, take time to upskill for my personal development”

It seems here at DS Group, we have some members of the team that would love to have a 4 day working week! But can you blame them? Just imagine on that 5thday you don’t have your startling, sometimes heart stopping, alarm go off. You can take the time to go to the gym, spend some much needed time with family and friends or even an indulgent day of self-care!

Why not give this blog a share and let us know your thoughts on a 4 day working week? Or feel free to contact us if you’re interested in finding out about some roles that offer a tempting work-life balance.

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