Does a four-day work week make you more productive?

A four-day work week: Many companies play with the idea, but in the UK they are actually testing this. Does one day less work really make you more productive? The first companies share their results.

High court case

In the UK, they started a nationwide trial two weeks ago. About 70 companies are testing a four-day work week to examine work patterns. For the next six months, the employees there will have the same salary, but will have to work fewer hours. With this, academics from Oxford and Cambridge University and experts from Boston College in the USA, in collaboration with the independent think tank Autonomy, want to investigate whether this makes the staff more productive.

“This comes at a time when the discussion between advocates of traditional forms of work and staff who rebel against routines is really getting hotter. Which means the timing couldn’t be more perfect, ”he says Molly Johnson Jones, founder of Flexa Careers. The fact that we worked a lot from home during the pandemic has also given many employees new insights. For example, many people find that a working day from nine to five in the office is now old-fashioned. “Working with very specific, fixed hours has no positive impact on the results,” Johnson-Jones said. She therefore hopes the English trial will prove this and breaks the discussion.

Increase in revenue

Thryve, a London-based German technology recruitment firm, introduced the four-day week last year. This resulted in a revenue increase of more than 30 percent for them. “As we emerge from the turmoil and uncertainty of the past two years and enter the post-pandemic economy, it is time for business leaders to reconsider their existing ways of working in a way that will reposition them for future growth. ” he said. John Lennon, the company’s director. “Our experience has shown that the benefits and returns generated by introducing a four-day-a-week business model are significantly greater than for companies that do not.”

Smarter and faster

The British train ticket service Seatfrog has also introduced a four-day working week. Founder Iain Griffin tested the system at the company for nine months before it officially became part of its way of working last year. Here, too, the experiment succeeded when Griffin saw his firm’s results increase by about 15 to 20 percent. He can now spend the extra day off with his wife and twins. “We wanted to experiment with a new way of working, for better balance and to see if it increased productivity,” he says. Griffin emphasizes that his employees are now managing their tasks smarter and faster. “Our team’s cadence is incredibly high, the staff are happier, and the team is eager to get to work Monday morning.”

Not for all sectors

A four-day work week therefore seems to have many positive effects. However, it is not for all sectors. Emma McGrath, a support lawyer at Citation, a company that provides health, safety and employment law services to small and medium-sized businesses in the UK, says not all employees can do their jobs efficiently with fewer hours. “When considering this, companies must first assess whether it is realistic to perform the same amount of work in four days,” she explains. “Some organizations need a constant presence – for example in healthcare – where it would not be possible to offer all employees the same day off.”

Emily M Austen, CEO of Emerge, an award-winning London-based PR agency, agrees. “There is a natural gap between what employees want and what business owners find most productive for their business,” she says. “Especially creative agencies, such as PR, marketing and advertising that work for clients, present a useless reality for a four-day work week. Our time must reflect our clients’ time in order to provide excellent service.” When Austen’s business is less accessible one day a week, it can lose or turn off customers.

Thinking in terms of possibilities

Despite the gap between employers ‘, employees’ ideas and the work itself, many employers agree that it is good to look at the processes and how they can be improved. “Even if an employer does not believe they can offer a four-day work week across the board, they can still choose to promote a culture that focuses on performance rather than presence,” McGrath said. “If staff no longer have to answer out-of-office emails and are encouraged to leave on time, we’re well on our way.” Shortening meetings and ensuring that they are completed on time can also contribute to productivity. In short: it’s about finding the balance. It is only a matter of time to find out if it works for you (your business). “An extra day off will make a significant contribution to creating a healthy balance between work and private life and improving the balance between work and private life. I do not know anyone who does not want that, “Johnson-Jones concludes.

Source: Stylist | Image: iStock

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