4 day Work Week – The Latest Workplace Buzz

4 days a week?

A handful of countries have recently been looking at the idea of working 4 days in a week instead of 5 and the potential benefits of having more time off to enjoy doing things outside of work! This doesn’t mean condensing the same hours into less days, but actually means employees would work less days during the week and have 3 days off!

4 day Work Week – The Latest Workplace Buzz

Why would businesses want to allow their employees to work less hours?

A company in New Zealand have recently trialled this new work structure. Not only did employees maintain the same level of productivity but they also showed increased job satisfaction, better teamwork skills and improved company loyalty.

These results are not anomalies either! Studies show that the most productive countries in the world are Norway, Denmark and Germany work an average of just 27 hours a week!

CO2

Another benefit and a particularly hot topic is the reduction in a company’s carbon footprint by less commuting by employees to get to work and large office buildings only been used for 4 days a week instead of 5.

Who benefits from working less?

Employees

The appeal is clear, working a day less whilst receiving the same pay seems like a no brainer! This would mean staff could have a better work life balance and reduce burnout as well as potentially reducing the strain on those juggling childcare with working full time work.

Employers

Advocates for the 4 day work week argue that when their employees are better rested, less stressed and are happier due to more time to recuperate tend to be more motivated, more productive and engage better. The fact that working less could potentially have no negative impact or even result in better productivity means this plan could actually be financially feasible for businesses to implement.

 

More motivation

As well as being more motivated, staff who have more time to do their own hobbies or just relax will also be less stressed and physically worn out meaning they are actually likely to take less time off due to illness.

So why isn’t everyone adopting a 4 day work week?

Many business owners are not yet convinced of the idea with many concerned with not only the potential reduction of productivity and therefore money coming in to support their business, but also what it could cost to adopt this structure.

Even though employees get to work less, this may create a higher level of pressure to complete tasks in the 4 days where previously they had 5 and therefore stress levels are not actually reduced at all and instead means employees feel more pressure to get things done.

Happy to work

Many people also enjoy their job and therefore may not want to reduce their working hours and enjoy the social aspects of working in a team.

Does this work for everyone?

For certain industries, particularly hospitality and retail where they are customer facing, businesses could be forced to choose between taking on additional staff or reducing their opening hours which would not only be a lot of work but also expensive for the company.

What do I think?

Honestly, I can understand both the pros and the cons of the 4 day working week. The idea of having an extra day off sounds great on paper and for most of the working year, I think given the opportunity I would love to trial it.

However when it gets to tax return season come December to January, I would not love the extra pressure of getting all our clients tax returns out by the deadline with less working days in the week and feel as though it would increase stress, especially as my client portfolio grows!

The Bottom Line

Many companies and workers have succeeded with a condensed workweek and enjoyed benefits such as increased motivation and more time to pursue personal interests and goals. However, a four-day schedule does not work for all industries, businesses, or individuals and are therefore many businesses are not ready to adopt this 4 day week just yet.

So with all that in mind, what are your thoughts on the 4 day working week?