Blog·Company Culture

October 24, 2019

Work 4 Days a Week: The Advantages and Disadvantages

Everyone likes the idea of a 3-day weekend but is the 4 day work week as good as it sounds? Find out about the benefits and drawbacks of working four days a week here.

 

Want to work fewer hours but be paid the same amount? Then read on, glean any useful knowledge you can from this post and take it to your boss.

There has been a plethora of strategies devised for improving employee work life balance. For instance, there has been an increase in companies offering flexible working time, co-working space, and remote work.

However, one of the more revolutionary approaches taken by the more progressive organizations is to implement a four day working week for full time employees.

Yes, that means working 4 days a week, but without taking a pay cut or adding the number of hours per day. There has been much debate over the potential of switching to a four day week, I endeavor to summarize it in the following passages.

4 Day Work Week - The Benefits and Drawbacks of Working 4 Day Weeks


The Advantages of 4 Day Workweeks

For a start, it would address a huge problem of burn outs that permeates the UK labor market. In 2017-2018, 57% of all sick days were due to work related stress, anxiety or depression and 44% of these were caused by workload pressure alone.

4 Day Work Week - Statistic

With more free time to recover and recuperate employees will perform better, enjoy their responsibilities more, and inevitably take less sick leave due to high stress levels. Also, four-day workweeks will provide:

Increased Productivity

A case study in New Zealand which involved a company with 240 employees revealed a decrease in stress by up to 45% and an increase in overall life satisfaction. With that in mind, not only did their productivity increase, but also their company loyalty.

4 Day Work Week - Increased Productivity

Increased Employee Engagement

The three day weekend and an extra day off, allows for employees more time to rest and recover. Hence, they are less likely to be stressed or take sick leave. As a result of having more time to relax, they should return to their jobs with greater motivation.

This was highlighted in a trial in Sweden from 2015-2017, as nurses doing a 4 day work week were recorded as requesting less sick hours, arranging 85% more activities for patients in their care, and reporting better health, mental wellbeing, and greater engagement. If you are interested in finding out more about employee engagement check out our guide that will provide you with indepth understanding of the topic.

4 Day Work Week - increased Employee Engagement

Bolstering Equality within the Organization

There is a large disparity when it comes to the two million British people who are unemployed due to childcare responsibilities, with 89% of them being women.

A four day working week will promote an equal establishment and diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as it will allow for employees male, female and non-binary to spend more time with their families and balancing out care and work commitments.

4 Day Work Week - Bolstering Equality within the Organization

Being Greener

A shorter work week can reduce overall carbon emissions due to a decrease in commuters as well as save energy. Not only will you do your part in saving the planet, you will also save money in energy bills! To find out more about the benefits of a green workplace check out our article exploring sustainability in the workplace.

4 Day Work Week - Being Greener

Andrew Barnes promotes this flexible model and highlights its flexibility and positive effects on productivity, enagement, job satisfaction and employee wellbeing:

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjgqCgoxElw&t=155s


The Disadvantages of 4 Day Work Week

Trying to compress work hours

Some people view a four day work week as doing the same amount they would usually do in 5 days, but compressed into a lower number of days. Trying to squeeze 40 hours into four days is not a healthy approach and can lead to greater stress, decreased engagement and further decreased productivity__. Therefore, if you settle for this new standard it should consist of four 7 hour work days and provide sufficient coaching to your team.

4 Day Work Week - Trying to Compress Work Hours

Customer Satisfaction

Of course, such a change will disgruntle many customers who would prefer to have services available 5 days a week. However, for many organizations, using technology such as AI there can be a way around this.

4 Day Work Week - Customer Satisfaction


Closing Thoughts

Although, there is a long way to go in terms of any legislation being passed to make a four day week a reality for the wider society, the more progressive private companies trial this new phenomenon, the greater the chances of it become a reality for us all.

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