Why a four-day week could be right for your firm

We were chatting in the office recently about the potential benefits of working a four-day week and wondered whether it would be suitable for the financial advice sector.

While some of us felt that the improved staff engagement and productivity could be of benefit, others were concerned about a reduction in customer satisfaction due to being closed one more day a week.

So, if you’ve been weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of bringing in a four-day working week for your business, you’re not alone.

A report by the 4-Day Week Campaign that we recently read might help your decision-making. Their study suggests that a four-day working week was found to be successful by 9 out of 10 participating companies. Not only did the companies report a boost in their revenues but also a decrease in staff turnover.

So, could it be right for you? Here are the pros and cons.

Utilise these potential advantages

Of the 61 UK organisations that took part in the four-day week campaign trial, 38 stated that they planned to continue with the trial, while another 18 said they would maintain the four-day week permanently, thanks to the following four benefits.

  1. Increased productivity

The main aim of a four-day working week is to improve not only job satisfaction, company loyalty, and teamwork but also provide a better work-life balance, giving staff more time at home with their families.

The survey by the 4-Day Week Campaign revealed that 34% of companies polled felt that productivity had improved slightly and 15% said it had improved significantly.

  1. Better staff engagement

With a four-day working week potentially leading to more committed and happier employees, your team are less likely to be stressed or take as much sick leave. Having plenty of time to rest and recover means they can return to work refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.

A BBC report on a trial study in Sweden revealed that nurses at a care home that worked only six hours a day for five days a week, logged fewer sick hours and reported better health and mental wellbeing compared to before the trial began. They also arranged 85% more activities for patients in their care than previously.

  1. An equal workplace

Research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggests that 75.6% of mothers were in employment in the UK between April and June 2021, compared to 92.1% of fathers. While this is the highest percentage in the equivalent quarter since 2002, there are still fewer mothers working than fathers.

This could well be because women are more likely to try and adjust their working arrangements than men. So, creating a four-day working week could allow employees to spend more time with their families and more efficiently and healthily juggle work and care commitments.

  1. Decreasing your carbon footprint

Countries that have trialled shorter working hours have typically had a smaller carbon footprint, so reducing a work week from five to four days could have a similar impact.

Indeed, Scientific American reports that a trial by the US state of Utah revealed that by redefining the working week to Monday to Thursday saved the state at least $1.8 million in energy costs in just 10 months between August 2008 and May 2009.

You could face some disadvantages too

While there are several potential advantages to reducing your working week from five days to four, there are also some possible side effects.

Possibility of reduced customer satisfaction

One potential downside of closing your business for an extra day a week is poor customer satisfaction. Your customers could be frustrated if they are unable to access your business for a third day out of seven.

A possible way round this is to utilise technology like AI-powered websites or chatbots. This would give customers another way of contacting your business and receiving support without having to rely on office-based staff.

Potentially more tired employees

If you decide that you would still require your staff to work 35 hours, albeit over four days rather than five, you might find that they are more tired and show lower levels of productivity and overall happiness.

To achieve the best possible effects, a four-day working week should ideally consist of seven- or eight-hour workdays.

Get in touch

Every business is different, so while changing to a four-day working week might be right for some, it might not for others.

If you’re debating whether to implement a four-day working week for your business, make sure you do your research and gain advice from experienced professionals. So, email hello@melo.co.uk or call 0113 4656 111.


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