The four-day work week is an opportunity companies need to grab

4 day week Ellis Fox Blog

According to a recent study, where a number of companies in the UK trialed the 4-day work week for 6 months, more than half have made the change permanent. Even more impressive is that almost 90% of them are still continuing with the trial. This is an overwhelmingly positive result for a project that had many in doubt.

From a company perspective it didn’t make sense to pay people the same to work less hours. There were concerns that productivity and performance would take a dive. In reality the opposite happened. Turns out, working less day meant the time spent at work was more productive.

While the result is unexpected it should be welcomed, and not just for the productivity factor. At a time when companies are struggling to attract and retain top talent, this is a game changer. Like remote and flexible working, it’s about creating a workplace that is healthier. Flexibility is a big part of that, and so is employee wellbeing.

The interesting thing is that the benefits go beyond productivity. According to companies interviewed in the study at least 50% found that it improved employee retention, and 32% of companies said it helped their recruitment efforts.  In other words, a 4-day work week is actually helping build more successful businesses.

Now consider an employee perspective. In general, with the cost-of-living crisis, life isn’t getting any easier. Despite the skills shortage people are still concerned about job security and promotion. They feel the pressure to perform and this takes its toll. As much as we talk about having a better a work / life balance, that is really difficult to achieve without strong boundaries in place.

For too long, leaving the office on time has been frowned upon as lacking commitment. Leaving the office early? Completely taboo. So, when a company comes with a policy of a 4-day work week, then it gives employees some breathing space. It’s no longer about the clock, it’s about what they do in the time they’re working. And that takes a great deal of the pressure off.

Because the 4-day work week is a relatively new concept, it holds immense value. For current employees it’s an incentive to work more conscientiously. For candidates, it makes a new role very attractive. If your company hasn’t trialed the 4-day work week yet, why not?