Could the four-day working week benefit my business?

(2 minutes to read)

With some of the UK’s businesses having just completed the groundbreaking four-day week pilot programme, we take a look at the results and how it could potentially benefit many firms.

What does the four-day week involve?

The six-month long trial had employees going from working a traditional five-day week, to cutting it by a day and seeing if they could still achieve the same level of productivity.

The significant part of this is that employees did not have a pay cut, despite working a day less.

Four-day week facts

The trial ran from June to December 2022 and the majority of businesses that took part say that it was a success with almost all (92%) participants deciding to continue with the changes.

Other findings include:

  • Business revenue stayed broadly the same, rising by 1.4% on average during the six-month time frame.
  • 39% of employees said they felt less stressed.
  • 71% of employees felt reduced levels of burnout at the end of the trial.
  • 54% of employees said they found it easier to balance work and home responsibilities.
  • The number of sick days taken by staff fell by around two-thirds.
  • 57% fewer employees left the participating firms compared to the previous year within the same period.

Could the four-day week benefit my business?

Of course, this structure won’t suit every business and will all be very dependent on the sector and type of organisation.

But if it is possible from a practical point of view, then the evidence suggests that this way of working not only increases productivity levels, but overall wellbeing for employees too, which could potentially result in fewer sick days if burnout and stress are prevalent among staff.

Communication and management are key to ensuring that employees know what is expected of them when it comes to the amount of work that needs to be completed and to make sure that individuals aren’t working additional hours over the agreed working days, as this completely defies the point.

There’s also the fact that this new way of working could become expected, a bit like when Covid created flexible remote and hybrid working, making many people realise that this work-life balance was ideal for them.

And if it is expected, you might find it more difficult to attract and retain staff should your competitors be offering similar work but with the added benefit of the four-day week.

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