How would you feel about being able to take an extra day off every week, without having to take a pay cut?
Well maybe one day in the future, you can! Calls for a 4 day work week have been growing recently with the UK’s trade union body, the TUC, joining an ever-increasing list of influential organisations who claim a 4day work week will lead to a more productive, more efficient and less stressed workforce. These are just some of the benefits of a flexible working week, but that isn’t all there is:
Keep the same pay, but work less hours, with an extra day off to follow your own interests or spend time with the family. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
But will a shift to a 4day work week actually make us more productive? Or does the answer to the UK’s productivity problem lie in working more hours, like the 9-9-6 formula that many companies in China and Japan use?
Many smaller companies have already started to shift towards a 4day work week, but this has yet to be tested by some of the UK’s bigger businesses who have always relied on a 5day working week.
One business that I know of changed to a 4day working week about 3 years ago. Every employee now has Friday off as well as the weekend, with no loss in pay. They say the gains they have made far outstrip any obvious losses. Productivity is up 30%, absence and sickness at an all time low, and there are other, more unexpected cost savings as well. For example; the company no longer needs to pay for expensive external recruiters to hire staff, as so many people want to work for them!
And they are not the only ones. Companies worldwide who have taken the leap and tested a 4day work week have generally reported that productivity has risen once staff adjusted to the new working week. Not only that, employees are more engaged, more driven and less stressed then they had been previously.
Whilst I accept that a 4 day work week may not be suitable for every type of business in every industry, it does seem that the voices of those advocating this change are getting louder, especially from those who see this as a solution to the UK’s rising stress and health problems linked to work.
But until a major company takes that leap, or until a decision is taken at a national level, most of the country will have to continue managing our own time and productivity across a standard, 5 day working week.
If you want to know more about our top tips and techniques for increasing your own productivity and how to get some of your valuable time back, make sure you check out the video about time management.
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