Before Covid, a four-day working week was nothing more than a dream for many employees.
But circumstances have changed, and now a growing number of companies around the world are trialling a one-day reduction of the ‘traditional’ working week.
Overseen by the campaign group 4 Day Week Global, the UK trial consists of 30 companies employing between 20 and 200 staff, who will begin reducing their staff’s hours in June 2022.
Employees will be paid their full wage and benefits for 80% of their time, “while committing to maintain 100% productivity”.
Implementing a four-day week can have seismic business benefits – in Japan, Microsoft reported a 40% increase in productivity after switching to a three-day weekend – as well as increasing employee satisfaction.
So if your organisation is considering reaping benefits like these, here are some first thoughts to help ensure your own trial is sustainable – and successful!
1. Shift your mindset
Be warned: managers who have been trained to value pure hours worked, rather than results achieved, may struggle with the concept of a four-day week. This can lead to employees feeling penalised for prioritising their work-life balance.
Ensure everybody is consulted on, and informed about, the specific benefits to your organisation.
2. Prepare for uncertainty
Try as you might, you won’t be able to anticipate every possibility, and some people won’t enjoy the changes that result from trialling a new idea.
Be open and honest from the start, and acknowledge openly that your plans may not work for everybody. Ensure employees are able share any concerns before, during, and after the trial.
3. What will a four-day week look like in your organisation?
Think about setting up a small working group of employees and managers, to consider the key questions and develop a robust plan for your four-day working week.
How will you structure the trial, and how long should it last? How will you communicate the changes to your clients? How will you measure your results?
If you have any questions about implementing a four-day week trial, or would like expert guidance on a wide range of employment issues, please contact our friendly team.