Following participation from over 70 companies in the UK, organizers of a work test are sampling the possibility of moving from a five-day work week to a four-day work week. The results of the studies in the UK have revealed that a whooping 86 percent of the participants have opted to adjust to a four-day work week schedule. What’s more is that 9 out of 10 of these participants disclosed they are willing to extend the four-day work week beyond the trial period of six months.
Furthermore, the organizers are now carrying out these tests in other parts of the world, including the United States of America, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
To that effect, Brief analyzes the pros and cons of implementing a policy that supports a four-day work week.
What is a four-day work week?
A four-day work week is a schedule that grants employees reduced work hours per week and a three-day weekend instead of the customary two (Saturday and Sunday). For the 8am – 5pm system, the employee would be required to work 9hours a day, 36 hours a week instead of 45 hours per week.
Pros of a four hours a week system
Recent research by Sanford University concluded that overworked staff are less productive than those working an average or normal week. A New Zealand-based company which tested the four-day work week disclosed that employees retained the same productivity level while showing improvements in job satisfaction, teamwork, work/life balance, and company loyalty.
Improved work/life balance
Regarding improving work/life balance, a four-day work week could help employees spend more time with their families and take on more care and work commitments, as a study revealed that about two million British people are not employed because of childcare responsibilities.
Friendly work environment
A four-day week could lead to having a happier and less hostile work environment as employees have enough time to rest and recover. A four-day week could also reduce the rate at which employees obtain sick leave as they are likely to be less stressed.
One of the major lessons of the global pandemic was the reduction in the emission of carbon. The less work activities, the less emission of carbon into the atmosphere. Therefore, a four-day work week would reduce the carbon footprint emitted by countries.
Cons of a four-day work week
Reduced customer satisfaction
With reduced working hours comes a shortage in the time spent on addressing customers’ concerns.
Lag in workload
Companies that operate a four-day work week schedule would have to employ more staff to cover the workload of a five-day work week or experience a lag or drop in weekly work done.