Could a 4 day week benefit your business?

Mar 21, 2019


By Esmée Hardwick-Slack

Here in the UK we’re used to working 9am – 5pm, 5 days a week. In fact, British people work some of the longest office hours in Europe, however, studies have revealed that Britain is also among the least productive. With our over-working affecting our mental health. Illnesses like stress, depression and anxiety have been revealed to be a major reason for employees taking sick days, with more than 12.5 million days lost by more than 526,000 workers in the 2016/17 financial year alone.

Could one less working day fix our productivity problem? Many companies across the UK seem to think so! Gloucester-based Radioactive PR claim to be among the world’s first companies to implement a 4 day working week without reducing staff wages.

During a trial run of the shortened week the founder of Radioactive PR, Rich Leigh, witnessed an improved work-life balance for his employees and claims to also have strong feedback from clients. In a recent interview with The Guardian, Rich explained: “There are two ways to make money in my line of work, retain clients and get new ones. Miserable staff can’t do either.”

To many, the idea of being able to complete more work in fewer hours may seem ridiculous, but it has been suggested that advances in technology (such as AI and remote systems) could mean that a 4 day working week could be a realistic goal for many businesses. The idea of doing more with less has also been backed up with a report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), many countries that show extremely high productivity levels actually work fewer hours than the worldwide average.

But how does this work? Well, the extra day your staff spend away from work will leave them refreshed, awake and enthusiastic when they come back, helping with their mental health and combating fatigue. In turn, this leads to productivity improvements and staff members who are more engaged while they are at work.

However, a 4 day working week may not suit some businesses. If you often find yourself wishing for more hours in the day to get things done, then taking a day away may end up making you and your employees more stressed. There’s also the added factor that your customers may expect people to be available 5 days a week, if they’re not, then this may cause issues.

A 4 day week may also make childcare more difficult for your staff as it can result in working earlier/later than usual. Many day care and after school clubs work around the idea that parents work an 8am to 5pm schedule, so may not accommodate unusual schedules.

The answer to whether or not you should implement a 4 day week really depends on the needs of both your business and your employees. If you have an employee asking about working a 4 day week, it makes sense to look and see if it would work for this person in this position. It might even be worth doing a trial run if you’re unsure. The flexibility may benefit your employees and be more appealing to potential new hires, or it may leave you and your team with a larger workload and more stress.  

What are your thoughts on a 4 day working week? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation on our Twitter!

Related Articles:

Working from home more effectively

New work/life balance

Flexible working for all


Other posts you might like:

Get a helping hand for your business.