pros & cons of a 4 day work week

There’s been a lot of talk regarding the 4 day working week and even more since the success of the UK trial. The UK trial follows the work undertaken by New Zealand not-for-profit ‘4 day week’, who have spent the last several years campaigning for the benefits of a shorter work week with no decreased pay for employees. Bringing their trial to the UK in 2022, the results have seen 56 businesses extending the trial and 18 making the changes permanent. This is of no surprise when the results showcased 71% of employees reporting lower levels of burnout and 39% reporting feeling less stressed. Globally, the results of the 4 day week trial found that 63% of businesses found it easier to attract and retain talent and 78% of global employees reported feeling much happier since reducing their work week.

While all the data certainly seems great, is the working week the right choice for everyone? Below we’ve got some pros and cons for you to decide.

Pros:

  1. Increase in productivity
    There’s no denying that the results from trial around the world, show that employees are producing the same if not greater output in their work despite the reduction of hours. For companies wishing to measure output over activity, the results speak for themselves.
  2. Happier & healthier employees
    Providing a working environment that ensures the wellbeing of employees has proved to deliver a positive ripple effect for the rest of the business. With physical and mental health both being reported by employees as being better since the shorter week has been adopted.
  3. Higher recruitment retention
    Offering a reduced working week with no loss of pay is never going to be a hard-sell. But what makes this even better is the proven results that show how business output remains high and the wellbeing on employees has improved.

Cons

  1. Doesn’t suit everyone
    For some, both business and individuals, working a day less isn’t going to be conducive. For some, spreading work out over 5 days instead of 4 feels more manageable and suits their working pattern. Similarly, for the business operating one day less may not suit how they operate or how the connect with their customers.
  2. Operational challenges
    Sadly, nothing is as simple as just changing working hours. Businesses will need to ensure robust policies are in place and challenges such as holiday allowance will need to be thought through.
  3. Adaption for the business
    Any change for the business is scary. The ability to run a trial first to see if this model can be adapted for your business is a fail-safe way to see if a 4 day week can be adapted to ensure positive results for your business.

While there are plenty of pros and cons to adopting the 4 day work week, it’s important to remember that there are other ways you can attract and keep happy employees when it comes to adopting new working policies. Below is our quick-list of benefits that could be alternatives to the 4 day work week:

  1. Offer flexible working hours
  2. Offer remote work days
  3. Offer half-days on Friday
  4. Offer additional holiday allowance

Let us know if you have any other recommendations or thoughts on the 4 day work week and alternative working.

If you’re on the lookout for an exciting new role with a company whose values match your own – then look at our current jobs page as we work with loads of fantastic, value-driven organisations.