Scotland is to trial a four-day week, without a loss of pay, after a newly published report proposed ideas for how it could be executed. This drew on the experience of successful trials in Iceland and New Zealand.
Recent research found that 80 per cent of people believed that cutting their number of days at work, with no loss of pay, would benefit their wellbeing and productivity levels.
Now, pilots are being staged in the wake of the post-pandemic world, with a pledged £10 million fund for companies willing to trial the model.
While the four-day week sounds productive and modern, there are many differing views about this approach, and it leaves us thinking about one critical question:
Will the rest of the UK follow suit?
The only way to assess this question is to examine why the four-day week is being considered by so many nations.
Large and small-sized companies that trial the concept may have differing experiences, benefits, and disadvantages. However, some of the overarching benefits are expressed as followed:
Increased productivity – Research has indicated that working fewer hours boosts productivity levels.
A large New Zealand business that trialled this found that there was a 20 per cent rise in productivity. Also, work-life balance scores increased from 54 to 78 per cent.
This led to employees focussing more on their jobs when in their work hours, and generally feeling happier and more fulfilled in their jobs.
Cost-saving benefits – Shortening the working week means that employees do not need to commute as much, reducing their carbon footprint.
Like the pandemic has shown, businesses with employees working on the same four days can save on overheads and can even sometimes be eligible for tax relief.
Recruitment and retention – There has been an increasingly popular attraction to employers who offer hybrid or remote working.
With many employees wanting greater flexibility, a four-day week trial could be a fantastic way of attracting and retaining talented professionals.
These are just a few of the many benefits that a four-day week could have on businesses.
Unfortunately, the four-day working week concept would not suit every sector. Some sectors like care or job roles, such as schoolteachers, are required to work full-time, which could make a shortened workweek impractical.
Whether the rest of the UK end up trialling this concept at some point, studies have proven that businesses who put a focus on maintaining staff wellbeing, engagement, morale, and productivity are reaping the benefits.
At HR Caddy, we tailor our HR services bespoke to the needs of our clients, whether it is support on employee wellbeing or helping retain and attract new talent.
For more help or advice on related matters, please contact us today.