The 4 day working week
Post-bank holiday: I don’t know about you, but we are LOVING these extra bank holidays! What a treat to have three in a month!
The success of four-day week trials have been much discussed in recent news. It is now proven that most companies report a higher level of productivity, fewer absences and sick leave, and a reduced staff turnover.
So why are so many companies still reluctant to impose it within their business? Perhaps they are afraid that employees couldn’t possibly get as much done in a shorter space of time, or perhaps if after a trial and they decide not to continue, they are worried employees will leave after experiencing a taste of newfound freedom. Are companies afraid of adopting a work style that seems too radical?
When covid hit, employees across the world were in the midst of a burnout crisis. Cultures of a healthy work-life balance were almost frowned upon.
I am keen to explore how companies are adopting such practice. Not only are companies introducing fewer working days, some are opting for shorter working days of 5 hours. This has proven particularly successful for writers, developers, programmers and scientists can only concentrate for about that long every day.
One of our clients offer a long weekend as standard. Everyone finishes work at lunchtime on a Friday. It’s just a couple of hours off each week – and yet their staff turnover is remarkably low – we’ve noticed they are actively hiring so much less these days as retention has grown significantly. Their employees are happier and feel valued.
It is not uncommon for them to travel across the country on a Friday afternoon and enjoy a long weekend with friends and family outside London.
Many have noticed an improvement in their family life. Paternal workers can use that time for childcare, easing the pressure on women being the default parent and able to focus more on their careers they would otherwise struggle to juggle around family life.
Staff sickness has reduced, with many employees using that time to join fitness classes or participate in team sports.
From a recruitment standpoint, we notice a significant increase in applicants when we recruit for that particular client. We notice a higher calibre of applicants too, often attracting candidates who aren’t actively looking, but are only on the market if something really attractive pops up – and in most cases, the prospect of having a longer weekend without sacrificing their pay – is usually enough to tempt them.
If you are struggling to fill a vacancy, have a high turnover, or employee absenteeism, then perhaps it’s worth reviewing the softer benefits within your business. You would be amazed at how such a small offering, can have major repercussions, and sit you above your competitors as employers.
We’d love to hear your thoughts – whether that’s first-hand experience in the matter, or concerns around what would stop you as a business adopting a more flexible work scheme.
Please comment below or write to us directly: firstname.lastname@example.org