It’s no secret that the traditional 5-day workweek is currently in question. The idea of working 9-5 has been fading for years with the advent of new technologies that enable remote working. And now, many are championing a 4-day workweek for the corporate world. Some businesses are even trailing this as we speak!
This article will analyse the logic behind the trial and look at the results so far!
The 4-day workweek is boosting productivity
In their explainer video, the 4-Day Week UK Campaign claim that “productivity increases when working hours are reduced.” They also state that we work more hours than France and Germany, and other European countries, but are much less productive. Our average hours per capita are noticeably higher than both countries! Have a look at the video here:
Interestingly, a study of the impact of Fortune 500 company profits in the Wall Street Journal found that firms’ stock prices rose an average 0.36% following announcements of flexibility initiatives. This includes things like remote working and a reduced hours week. It is clear that investors feel that productivity is higher in businesses where flexible initiatives exist. This can only benefit the economy and create jobs.
Back to the current trial. There are 72 companies taking part, with a total of 3,300 workers. Here are 2 important takeaways as we enter the 4th month out of 6:
Productivity has improved for nearly half of the companies (34% said that productivity has “improved slightly,” and 15% say it has “improved significantly”), while many think it has stayed the same (46% of respondents), despite everyone working one day per week less.
86% of respondents said that at this point in the trial, they would be “extremely likely” and/or “likely” to consider the idea of retaining a four-day week when the pilot ends.
What’s more, a recent trial in Sweden found the same. Workers completed the same amount of work in 4 days as they usually would in 5. Clearly, productivity is either staying the same or increasing, so why not give it a go?
Health and wellbeing are improving
It might seem obvious, but we’re going there anyway! Employees like the 4-day workweek because it gives them more time to pursue personal interests or hobbies. People are happier when they have more time to do the things that they love outside of work. And happiness breeds productivity. In a study by the University of Warwick in 2015, happier individuals 12% greater productivity.
Not only this, but it gives people more time to rest. In fact, a quarter of all working days lost in 2018 were the direct result of overwork and sickness. It has long been known that proper rest gives us time to recover, it resets our minds so that we can focus on new tasks, and it allows us to be more creative and solve problems. All of these things are conducive to a productive workforce.
A 4-day workweek improves your quality of life
This is the big one. Women currently do about 60% of the important, unpaid work like caring for children and relatives. A 4-day week would provide the extra time to balance this out and bring about much needed gender equality at home and in the workplace.
Franchising and Self-Employment
For self-employed people, you also have the flexibility to choose when you work and for how long. You might already be doing the 4-day workweek! One of the benefits of buying a franchise or choosing self-employment is that you don’t have to deal with corporate red tape and demanding work schedules. No one can tell you when to work and for how long.
There is, of course, a fine line that must be watched carefully. If you don’t work enough, you won’t get paid what you need to ensure that you have a comfortable lifestyle. It is also true that many people who choose self-employment feel that they work more at the beginning of their journey while the business is taking off. This might be true but think of the work-life balance once your business has started turning a profit. This is what you’re working towards: flexibility and freedom.
We hope this post has convinced you of the benefits of a 4-day workweek, and that you feel inspired to implement it in your own company. The facts are clear: human beings need rest, and they can’t be expected to work without it. If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from this study and those before it, it’s that giving employees more time off will help them be happier and more productive at work than ever before!
Our working habits are changing constantly and have been even more noticeably since COVID-19. Hybrid working and remote working are now part of the furniture. Why can’t the 4-day workweek be too?
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