In recent years, there has been a growing movement towards a four-day workweek. The idea is simple: rather than working the traditional five-day week, employees would work four (sometimes longer) days and have an extra day off.
This concept has gained popularity due to its potential benefits, not only for employees but also for employers. Many studies have shown that a four-day workweek can lead to increased productivity, reduced stress and burnout, and improved work-life balance.
Additionally, it has the potential to attract top candidates to companies that offer this kind of flexibility. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of a four-day workweek and how it can benefit both employees and employers. We’ll also delve into how offering a four-day workweek can be a powerful tool for attracting top talent.
Last June, 3,300 workers at 61 UK companies of various sizes joined a four-day working week pilot in the UK, promoted by 4 Day Week Global, a not-for-profit organisation founded in New Zealand, and overseen by the thinktank Autonomy and a team of academics.
The aim of the pilot was to allow researchers to analyse how employees respond to having an extra day off, whilst also studying areas such as stress and burnout, job and life satisfaction, health, sleep, energy use and travel.
The trial was based on the 100:80:100 model – 100% of pay for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment to maintaining 100% productivity.
Employers in the pilot program agreed to adjust working hours to accord with one of the following options:
"Gold" participants adopt a permanent 32-hour (or less) four-day week, with a reduction of hours and no loss of pay.
"Silver" participants adopt a permanent 35-hour (or less) four-day week, with a reduction of hours and no loss of pay.
After the pilot was completed, surveys of staff taken before and after were compared and it was found that 39% said they were less stressed, 40% were sleeping better and 54% said it was easier to balance work and home responsibilities. What’s more, the number of sick days taken during the trial fell by about two-thirds and 57% fewer staff left the firms taking part compared with the same period a year earlier.
Overall, the vast majority of companies reported that they were satisfied with productivity and business performance over the trial period.
A four-day week is one of the top five perks that would motivate a candidate to apply for a role, alongside other benefits such as private healthcare and hybrid/remote working options.
Implementing a four-day working week could result in a significant increase in job applicants. It provides a work-life balance that many people crave and is an excellent way for companies to stand out from their competitors. Offering a shorter workweek is a powerful tool for attracting top talent, particularly in fields where employee retention is a challenge.
Candidates will be more likely to choose a company that prioritises their well-being, and a four-day workweek sends a clear message that the company values its employees' happiness and work-life balance. Additionally, a shorter workweek can help to reduce burnout and improve overall employee satisfaction, leading to increased productivity and better quality of work.
On the other hand, while a four-day workweek may seem attractive to some candidates, it may not be feasible for all companies, especially those in industries that require a consistent five-day workweek. Additionally, offering a shorter workweek may not be financially viable for some companies, particularly small businesses with limited resources. Furthermore, some employees may not want to work longer hours in a day, and therefore may not be interested in a four-day workweek, leading to a limited pool of candidates for companies that adopt this approach.
In conclusion, it’s important for companies to weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks before adopting this approach. While it can help to attract top talent and improve employee satisfaction, it may not be feasible for all companies or industries. Ultimately, it is essential to consider the unique needs and circumstances of your company and employees before making any decisions regarding the workweek structure.