Four-day workweek: Many companies are playing with the idea, but in the UK it is already testing it. Does a day less work really make you more productive? The first companies share their results.
In the UK, they started a national trial two weeks ago. About 70 companies test a four-day work week to examine working patterns. Over the next six months, employees there will receive the same pay, but will have to work fewer hours. With this, academics from the University of Oxford and Cambridge and experts from Boston College in the US, in collaboration with an independent research center Autonomy, want to check whether this makes employees more productive.
This comes at a time of intense debate between advocates of traditional ways of working and employees who rebel against routine. Which means the timing couldn’t be more perfect.” Molly Johnson Jones, founder of Flexa Careers. And the fact that we have often worked from home during the pandemic has given many employees new insights. For example, many people find that the nine-to-five work day in the office is outdated now. “Working with very specific, fixed hours has no positive effect on results,” Johnson-Jones said. So she hopes the English trial will prove this, breaking the debate.
Thryve, a London-based German technology recruitment firm, introduced a four-day workweek last year. This increased their sales by more than 30 percent. “As we emerge from the turmoil and uncertainty of the past two years and enter the post-pandemic economy, it is time for business leaders to rethink their current ways of operating in a way that will reposition them for future growth,” he said. John LennonCompany Director. “Our experience has shown that the benefits and returns of adopting a four-day-weekly business model are much greater than those of companies that do not.”
Smarter and faster
British rail ticket service Seatfrog has also introduced a four-day-weekly system. Founder Ian Griffin He tested the system at the company for nine months before it officially became part of the way it worked last year. Here, too, the experiment was a success, with Griffin seeing that his company’s results increased by about 15 to 20 percent. He can now spend an extra day with his wife and twins. “We wanted to try a new way of working, to find a better balance and see if it increases productivity,” he says. Griffin stresses that his employees now handle their tasks smarter and faster. “Our team’s cadence is incredibly high, the staff is happier and the team is excited to work on Monday morning.”
Not for every sector
So the four-day work week seems to have many positive effects. However, it is not for every sector. Emma McGrathSupport lawyers at Citation, a company that provides health, safety and employment law services to small and medium-sized businesses in the UK, says not all employees can effectively do their jobs with fewer hours. “When considering this, companies should first assess whether it is realistic to do the same amount of work in four days,” she explains. “Some organizations need a permanent presence – for example in healthcare – as it is not possible to offer leave for all employees on the same day.”
Emily M Austin, CEO of Emerge, an award-winning public relations agency based in London, agrees. “There is a natural gap between what employees want and what business owners find most productive for their business,” she says. “In particular, creative agencies such as public relations, marketing and advertising that work for clients present the impractical reality of a four-day work week. Our time must mirror that of our clients in order to provide excellent services.” When Austin’s availability is less than one day a week, it can lose or break up customers.
Think of the possibilities
Despite the gap between the ideas of employers, employees and the work itself, many employers agree that it is a good idea to look at processes and how they can be improved. “Even if an employer doesn’t think they can offer a four-day work week across the board, they can still choose to promote a performance-focused culture over attendance,” McGrath said. “If employees no longer have to answer emails outside of business hours and are encouraged to leave on time, we’re on the right track.” Shortening meetings and making sure they finish on time can also increase productivity. In short: it’s all about finding a balance. It is only a matter of time to see if it is right for you (your business). “An extra day off would make a huge contribution to creating a healthy work-life balance and improving work-life balance. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want that,” concludes Johnson-Jones.
Source: designer | Photo: iStock
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