Why A Four-Day Workweek Is Beneficial To Corporates

Jun 06, 2022
four-day workweek

The last couple of years has shown a dramatic increase in stress for the working population. We have all had to juggle numerous lockdown situations and rules, home-schooling, virtual meetings, and irregular work hours which have put a strain on us all.

The introduction of a four-day workweek is a relatively new concept; one that has generated some conflicting opinions. However, within the near future, it’s entirely likely we will see an increase in remote working and more flexible working schedules. From research, this will have many proven benefits that will impact our lives both inside and outside of work.

The Impact of the Pandemic
A recent study conducted by the Henley Business School discovered that 63% of businesses in the UK are implementing a four-day working week for either some, or all, of their staff, compared with just 50% pre-pandemic. It’s important to remember, we lived – and continue to live - through a worldwide pandemic. The stress of this cannot be understated.

Increased Productivity
A study led by a New Zealand-based company, Perpetual Guardian, has produced compelling results when drawing a correlation between fewer hours worked in the office and increased productivity. The trial study of a four-day workweek saw employees maintain the same level of productivity, with improvements in teamwork, work/life balance, job satisfaction and company loyalty. Employees were said to have experienced a decrease in stress levels of 45%.
In comparison, it’s interesting to see the world’s most productive countries, such as Norway, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands work an average of 27 hours per week. This is the equivalent of the proposed hours of a four-day workweek. In contrast, Japan, a country renowned for overworking its employees, is ranked 20th out of 35 countries for productivity.

Higher Employee Engagement
As hours become less strenuous, employees feel less overworked, happier and more committed to their job as a result. With decreased stress levels, our three brains – the head, the heart and the gut - can feel nurtured and considered. Employees will feel appreciated and rested which, in turn, lessens the opportunity for burnout. With rest and recovery time, employee illness can decrease due to heightened energy levels. People can feel empowered and energised, ready to tackle new challenges within the workplace.

An Equal Workplace
It is estimated that roughly two million British people are not currently in employment due to the responsibilities of childcare. 85% of these people are women. In order to promote an equal workplace, employees should feel supported in their endeavours to spend more time with their families, with a better balance of work and care commitments. A four-day workweek affords people the opportunity to find this balance so that they can invest time in their loved ones as well as prioritise their careers. The benefits for personal development are huge through increased quality time with family.

Smaller Carbon Footprint
The environmental benefits are also evident in a study conducted in Utah. The trial highlighted a positive ecological impact of reducing the average working week from five days to four. The first ten months of the study highlighted a saving of £1.36 million in energy costs, with a reduction of 6,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. This is unsurprising as typically countries with shorter working hours have a smaller carbon footprint.

I strongly encourage other businesses to consider a move in this direction. Ways of working are changing, and it is important to consider the mental health and well-being of your employees. Burnout prevention is key, and the benefits highlighted above show the positive impacts on a business in relation to productivity, engagement, and equality within the workplace.

To find out more about stress and workplace burnout please book in a call to speak with me.