Four-day work week – does it work?

The recent Bank Holidays have given us a taster of what a four-day work week would be like. But could it really work for your business long-term?

In this blog, we’ll explore the pros and cons to help you decide!

The pros

Less absences

Four-day weeks are being trialed all over the world and the good news is a shorter work week has been found to provide a welcome boost to employee wellbeing.

British researchers found that of the UK businesses who had switched to a four-day week: 62% said their employees call in sick less often, 70% said their employees are less stressed and 78% said their employees are happier, so it’s a win-win!

Better work-life balance

An obvious benefit of a four-day work week is it offers a better work-life balance, to recharge, exercise, focus on hobbies and socialise. Some employees have used it as an opportunity to learn new skills or study for a new qualification. By adopting the initiative, employers can expect to benefit from an energised and motivated workforce.

Lower impact on the environment

With less frequent commutes to the office, working a four-day week helps to reduce carbon emissions and lower energy consumption in the office. This will create a more sustainable workplace, reduce costs and help to tackle climate change.

Increased productivity

A recent survey of companies trialling the shorter weeks found that although people were working fewer hours, 95% said productivity improved or remained the same, as employees are more focused and productive during the time they are at work.

Staff also tend to have shorter meetings and plan out their week better. When employees have more time to rest and recharge, they are better equipped to focus and work more efficiently.

Attract and retain employees

With many businesses struggling to afford 10% inflation pay rises, a four-day work week, with no loss of pay, is being offered as an alternative incentive.

63% of businesses surveyed found it has been a great incentive to attract and retain talent and it has helped to increase gender equality.

The cons

Reduced availability

A four-day work week may not be suitable for all businesses. Businesses who offer 24/7 support may struggle to reduce their hours due to customer expectations. Likewise, for businesses that have seasonal peaks, it may not be feasible to reduce hours year-round. Whether it’s possible or not, will depend on the nature of your business and its demands.

Concerns over productivity

Some businesses are concerned that less working days will mean staff are less productive. Although many businesses have found this isn’t the case, to ensure that productivity remains high, businesses need to have the right processes in place.

Increased workload

Although working fewer days is intended to reduce the risk of burnout, some found the intensity of working on fewer days increased stress and pressure to meet deadlines.

Some employees found it unmanageable, with 43% of employees working above their contracted hours. However in 71% of cases, it only added an additional 2 hours.

Cost of additional infrastructure

To make a four-day week work, there needs to be the right infrastructure in place to allow teams to operate quickly and effectively, so it doesn’t impact the service you deliver.

If this is not already in place, there could be additional costs associated with the change.

Erosion of workplace culture

With fewer hours in the week, some businesses are concerned there would be less time for sharing knowledge and socialising, which could impact the workplace environment.

There is, however, potential to do more activities together outside of work, or create not-to-be-missed events in the office, to keep morale high.

If you’re looking to implement a new HR software solution, call our expert team on 01252 63 60 70 or email to set up a demo. Alternatively, you can start a 14-day free trial to put our software to the test at any time.