Four day working weeks have been trialled in a number of countries in recent years and the results have generally been seen as encouraging, with the shorter week boosting employee productivity and reducing stress.
From June 2022, 60 UK companies are participating in a four day week pilot scheme, with no loss of pay. The study aims to establish whether a four day week can achieve higher productivity and improve wellbeing.
The four day week approach is based on the 100:80:100 principle – 100% of the pay, for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment to delivering 100% of the output.
Campaigners say executives should embrace a new model of work focused on quality of outputs and not quantity of hours.
When employers were asked what they thought the benefits of a four day week would bring, the following 4 key points were identified;
- 59% said mental health benefits
- 13% said increased productivity
- 12% said talent retention
- 11% said talent attraction
Employees responded as follows;
- 75% said improved mental health and well being
- 7% predicted increase in productivity
- 7% predicted increase in talent attraction
- 4% predicted increase in talent retention
(Ulster Business, May 2022)
Only 3% of employers in NI have introduced a four day working week and 2% are trailing it.
For most companies involved in the pilot, the logistics around the new model include operating a full time, 5 day working week from a client perspective, but with the team divided. For example, half taking Fridays off and the remaining half taking Mondays off, based on client and project needs.
Businesses will be enabling their teams to reduce their carbon footprint with fewer commutes and less time spent in office.
The introduction of a four day working week will be a decision for each individual employer and will be easier for some companies to introduce and implement than others.
It is important to remember that if employers can’t get the basics right, such as a competitive salary and flexible working, the majority of professionals will look elsewhere. A four day week is an attractive offering, but there are lots of other ways employers can stand out from the crowd.