Is a four-day week the way forward for your career?

Posted on Friday, January 20, 2023 by Amy RNo comments

70 companies in the UK, with a total of more than 3,300 workers, are currently taking part in 4 Day Week Global. This is an experiment where employees work a four-day week for the same pay. The study is still ongoing but 86% of employers say they will probably continue at the end of the trial.

Given that it’s around a century since the working week shifted from 6 days to 5, it’s interesting to consider if this change would work better now. And indeed, Peter Dowd MP has introduced a new bill attempting to cut the maximum weekly hours that it’s legal to work from 48 to 32. His argument is that the UK’s long working hours culture actually hinders our productivity.

So, why would a four-day week work for you?

·      You’d be more productive but get the same pay

All the evidence says that a shorter working week makes employees more productive, not less. It appears it’s not about the number of hours worked. This is likely due to many factors. Employees with more downtime will experience higher morale and there is a strong correlation between morale and engagement and productivity. Accuracy is higher with shorter bursts of work too.

·      You’d be a healthier worker

Iceland did an enormous trial on a four-day working week and they discovered that it led to far healthier employees with higher levels of wellbeing, including reduced stress and burnout. 13.7 million working days in the UK are lost due to stress each year. Healthier employees are good for business and society, but of course, it’s also good on a personal level.

·      Retirement is further away

With an ageing population, and state pensions being pushed further back, we will all have longer working lives. Culturally, we’re realising that we need to enjoy life along the way and not save it up for our retirement.

·      You can contribute more to your local economy

With an extra day off, you spend more money in your local area, boosting local businesses and economies. With the hospitality difficulties lingering from the pandemic and the recession ahead, this could ensure we get to continue living in places that are vibrant and that we enjoy.

·      We protect our planet

A shorter working week is associated with lower carbon emissions meaning we help to protect the environment we live in.

·      You get the work-life balance you crave

There’s been a lot of chat about work-life balance in recent years. With a four-day working week, a better balance is easier to strike. It’s easier to fully commit to work on the four working days, knowing that the rest of your life gets a decent look-in on your days off.

We’re not there yet – it’ll be some time, if at all, until it becomes the norm in the UK to work a four-day week. But if you can see the benefits and want to develop this lifestyle for yourself, there’s nothing stopping you looking for an employer to make it happen. Most will require pro-rata salaries or compressed hours, but there are ways to ensure it happens.

At Love Success, we support our candidates to find the flexible working patterns that work for their career and wellbeing. Register as a candidate


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