The four-day week is here; it is no longer a fantasy

Claire Vane
June 20, 2023

The four-day week used to be considered quite laughable and senior leaders would assume that this led to reduced productivity, but now many organisations have trialled a four-day week and have discovered some useful and surprising lessons.

Absenteeism goes down with a four-day week which, in turn, reduces stress by having to cover those who are absent; morale goes up and individuals become more engaged and motivated. Those organisations who have attempted a four-day week on a trial basis are happy to continue with it. This can take many forms such as a four-day week or a nine-day fortnight. In June 2022, 61 UK organisations joined a global 6-month trial to explore this and 56 continued with the trial and 18 made permanent changes.

Further, it was only a few years ago that some of our client organisations did not believe in remote working, but further research made it clear that managers who are managing remote workers have to make sure that their communications and leadership skills are even more honed. There was a time when a five-day week was considered a joke, but now we have the technology available to make a four-day week a viable proposition.

So, what of the future and what factors should we bear in mind?

• Long hours do not correlate to increased output; the more individuals work the less productive they become; motivation increases over shorter working weeks.

• Stress levels are reduced as individuals have more recovery time and time to spend with their families and become more energised for the return to work.

• The work-life balance is greatly improved. Lunch breaks are not taken up in domestic admin/errands that normally have to be done in working hours.

• More time off allows individuals to increase their physical activities as well as their social contribution through volunteering or skills development or external study.

• Casual time off for medical visits or therapy are scheduled in days off and fewer hours in the office results in a smaller carbon footprint.

If you would like to discuss how to improve productivity on a shorter working week and hone your hybrid contracts for maximum output, do please get in touch.

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