The four day working week has already been gaining an overseas following for a while. In one New Zealand trial, it was revealed that 78% of employers who implemented a four-day working week have found their employees to be less stressed. Recently, a four day working week trial has begun in the UK and covers a broad range of businesses from office-based companies to retail.

It’s important to note that a four day week isn’t about compressing five days of hours into four days. It should, in an ideal world, be 80% of your current working time for 100% of your pay – alongside a commitment to complete productivity. The areas mostly embracing this model are in Wales and the South West, but it’s a trend that’s sweeping the entire country. Here in the North West, we’re proving a little slower with getting on the bandwagon, so it’s important we aren’t left behind.

The benefits of a four day working week

There are numerous benefits with a four day working week for both the employee and the employer.

The biggest benefit seen to date is considerably reduced levels of stress and burnout. Not only does this enable the individual worker to give more fully in terms of productivity and innovation during their working hours, it also leads to greater engagement and morale. Employers benefit from reduced absences and better engagement, through to better staff retention.

It takes some adjusting to change to a four day working week. It’s not about working faster, where mistakes will be made. But it is about working smarter and eliminating the regular episodes of wasted time that result from being on the go for five days in a row.

Is a four day working week for everyone?

As is often the case, a four day working week doesn’t fit to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. It really depends on the individual business, but also the individual worker. Smaller companies, where cover is needed and rotas are harder to manage, may find it more difficult to implement.

Additionally, it may suit some business types better than others. In office-based roles where there can be considerable ‘wasted’ time, it’s possible to instigate smarter ways of working which ensure the same amount of work is done in less time. On a well-managed manufacturing floor, this is less likely.

Do you want a four day working week?

If you are an employee and like the sound of a four day working week then you will find that more and more roles are being advertised as such. It’s also something that you could consider negotiating with your employer. In many cases, unfortunately, there is still some reluctance and you may need to present a clear argument with data. However, you may also have to settle for part-time working, or compressed hours. Employers are generally being more flexible with hybrid working since Covid, so this is another option.

Remember that right now is a great time for candidates, and there are nearly more vacancies than there are unemployed people, as well as notable skills shortages across various sectors. This makes it an ideal time for looking at your current situation and negotiating better terms and conditions with your employer or finding better ones that suit your longer term aims. If your role is office-based then you should have reasonable leverage for negotiating a working pattern that works well for you and is viable for your company.

At F1rst Commercial Recruitment, we can help individuals and employers navigate the four day working week set-up. Get in touch on 0161 359 3111.