There’s plenty of buzz right now surrounding topics of work-life balance, burnout, the “Great Resignation,” and employee satisfaction. To accommodate, some companies are offering remote or hybrid workspaces, others are raising compensation, and a few are trying out what’s called the four-day workweek.
The U.K. is spearheading the four-day workweek trend with more than 30 firms joining an experimental pilot, where employees will be completing the same work as always – but in fewer hours (up to 35) spread across four days instead of five. The idea is that more time off will drive higher productivity during working hours while simultaneously contributing to a positive work-life balance.
Who Is Involved With This Pilot?
The pilot program is being run by 4 Day Week Global in partnership with the think tank Autonomy. Researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College will help track how the schedule changes affect well-being, productivity, and even gender equality – all of which contribute to employee health and satisfaction.
The six-month trial period in the U.K. will take place from June to December 2022. The pilot is also being adopted in Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and Canada.
Of course, office employees and typical 9-to-5 employees are involved, but so are construction crews, retail associates, engineers, and hospitality employees. The groups leading the four-day workweek campaign insist that it can span industries and improve productivity and happiness for employees of all kinds.
Arguments for the Four-Day Workweek
The primary argument for the four-day workweek is that it results in happier employees who can spend more time with family, pursue hobbies, and unplug, relax, and recharge. Happy employees are also healthier employees. CNBC reported in 2021 that approximately 45% of employees said they struggle with mental health issues.
Another impact of implementing a four-day workweek is a reduction in company operating costs. Closing the office for an extra day means less money spent on electricity, water, and other expenses. Employees also save money, as a shorter workweek cuts down on the cost of commuting and food.
Cost savings, productivity gains, and employee health represent only a few of the perks a company gains when it reduces its workweeks to four days. They also get a leg up in recruitment and retention, as having happy employees means increased loyalty. Employees in the current workforce highly value flexibility, which means companies that enforce rigid schedules are quickly falling behind competitors that offer hybrid options.
What do you think of a four-day workweek? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!