A-Z of the future workplace:

Hours

If your employer proposed that you could work one day less a week, without your salary being affected, would you be interested? This is currently one of the most topical issues which we are discussing with clients every week, and there are definite benefits to both the employer and employee.

A New Zealand company has already been putting the four-day working week to the test, and have received hugely positive results. They implemented the scheme in November 2017, and have found a 20% rise in productivity since, with stress levels reported at 38% compared to 45% previous to the scheme. Work-life balance scores increased from 54% to 78% as employees have more free time to use as they wish.

How can companies manage a four-day working week?

Not all employees have to take off the same day each week. Some companies who have applied the scheme have split the company into two halves, one half taking Monday off and the other half taking Friday. Making sure that someone is working from each department means that the company can still be up and running five days a week.

It has also been proven that the average person loses 82 minutes a day to distractions. This has been shown to reduce when a four-day working week has been implemented as employees concentrate more over four days to get their five day workload completed.

How to know if it will work for you?

The simple answer to this is that you don’t. Utilisation studies can be completed to see how staff work throughout the day prior to the scheme, but it is only once a four-day working week has been implemented that you can manage staff and create a plan for each employee to decide if this is an effective strategy both for the employee and the employer.

In our opinion, the benefits that a four-day working week can provide outweigh the risk. With staff wellbeing at the forefront of business strategy in recent years, and 15 million working days lost each year due to work-related stress, campaigners say a four-day week would reduce that number and increase productivity, making it more of a risk not to try.

Is it the future?

The four-day working week is still a relatively new concept, which is yet to be widely adopted. Whether it will be commonplace within the next 5 years is hard to say, but with millennials set to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025, and Gen X not far behind, companies will need to adapt their strategy to attract these generations.