Positive Results For A Four-Day Working Week
Between June and December 2022, 61 UK companies of varying sizes and in different industries took part in a four-day working week trial. The conditions of the trial were that each of the 2900 workers had to have a ‘meaningful’ reduction in their work time, whilst receiving 100% of their pay.
Apparently, the trial was a success, with 92% of the companies choosing to continue with the four-day week after the trial. The researchers said that 39% of employees taking part felt less stressed and 71% had reduced levels of burnout; overall, mental and physical health improved. Unsurprisingly, employees said that it was easier to balance their work lives with family and social commitments.
Companies, are said to have found that revenue was generally maintained across the trial period, despite the reduction in hours worked. Companies are also said to have seen a fall in staff turnover rates.
Is It A Reality?
Despite the apparently positive results, many employers will no doubt remain sceptical about the long-term benefits and practicability of moving to a four-day working week. Recent research conducted by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, the CIPD, found that a majority of employers don’t believe that a four-day working week will become a reality for most UK workers within the next 10 years.
One reason will be cost and inevitably in many if not most businesses, a shorter week would mean a need to recruit more employees. And more employees would mean higher labour costs. With much increased non-labour costs pumping retail price inflation over 13% and a limit to what customers will be able to pay, a four-day week seems a long way off.
Quite apart from costs, moving to a four-day week would inevitably present complex challenges for employers, including how to make working practices fair and how to ensure statutory obligations are met. It’s a potential minefield of problems for both employers and ultimately for employees. The saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” springs to mind.
If your employer is considering a change to a four-day working week, either on a trial or a permanent basis, do give us a call. On the face of it, the prospect of a four-day working week might be very attractive, but it’s important that the terms of any offer are fair and reasonable. The Advice Team can be contacted on 01234 716005 (choose Option1). Alternatively, you can email us via our contact page.