Will You Be Converting to a 4-Day Week?
In June 2022, around 2,900 UK employees took part in a six-month trial to see how a 32-hour working week would benefit workers, employers, the economy, society and our environment in the UK. The results are in so how did the trial fair?
According to 4dayweek.co.uk, 92% of the participating companies will continue with the 4-day week. Business performance and productivity were maintained whilst stress and burnout declined amongst employees. Work-life balance improved and so did companies’ revenue, in fact it was reported there was a 1.4% increase on average. There was a 65% drop in sick days too.
How Did a 4-Day Week Come About?
The traditional working week (Mon – Fri, 9 – 5) no longer fits in with society. The idea was originally trialed by Perpetual Guardian, New Zealand in 2018 where they followed the 100-80-100 principle, developed by Charlotte Lockhart and Andrew Barnes. Employees receive 100% pay for 80% worked and 100% of productivity targets achieved. It’s a business strategy that focusses on working smarter rather than longer, and the wellbeing of your staff. Since then, the 4-Day Week has been trialed all over the world, resulting in an increase in productivity, attracting the top talent to your company, better employee engagement, an improvement in employee wellbeing, plus it’s a great way to future-proof a business against changes brought about by AI and the pandemic.
How Do I Trial a 4-Day Week?
If you are thinking of setting up your own 4-day week trial then there are plenty of resources and support on the 4dayweek.com website. They recommend running a pilot rather than just launching into a permanent change. Their tips are:
- Set objectives – what do you want to achieve?
- Do you want to engage academics?
- Give your employees plenty of notice and clear reasons for running this trial
- Support managers throughout the trial
- Once finished, compile and review the results
- Choose whether you continue a 4-day week, reduced hours or flexible working
Your organisation doesn’t have to do this alone. 4 Day Week Global is launching pilot programmes every quarter. Sign up for the next trial dates here.
Pros and Cons of a 4-Day Week
Although there are many pros to the 4-day week (improved morale, aiding recruitment and retention of staff etc), there are some downsides too. According to recruitment agency Reed in their 2021 survey, it doesn’t suit all industries such as emergency services, logistics and public transport networks. Some staff prefer the 5-day week structure, with the possibility of overtime. Also, during the UK trial, around 5 of the 61 companies that took part will not be continuing with the 4-day week. One organisation cited the reason being was they couldn’t afford to give staff 1 day off per week as it affected their manufacturing process and deadlines. You can read more in this BBC article.
Red Desk thoughts
As Virtual Assistants, we are supporting the work smarter not longer model. We assist small businesses and freelancers so that their time is freed up to focus on the core activities in their business. If this means moving to a 4-day week then we are here to help. All our Virtual Assistants have their own work patterns and we match the right VA to the right business based on their business model, experience and availability.
If you are looking to outsource part of your small business then email firstname.lastname@example.org.