Over the last few years, views of the workplace have been challenged unlike ever before. Coming into the office five days a week seems antiquated now, as research increasingly supports the impact of shorter work weeks on productivity and employee satisfaction.
Countries have taken note, too. So much so that lawmakers have made the commitment to widespread four-day work weeks as part of their election campaign promises.
For instance, Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made a pledge to dedicate £10 million towards a four-day work week pilot for companies within the country, which is currently in the works.
Even prior to the pandemic, Microsoft conducted a shorter work week experiment in Japan in 2019, which saw its productivity grow by 40%.
Atom Bank’s pivot to a four-day work week not only showed improved workplace operations, but its role in attracting top talent. According to the company, its job applications spiked by 500% after committing to a four-day work week.
Research from Henley Business School suggests that businesses who make this shift will be better off in the future of work for many reasons.
For starters, 78% of UK employers said their workers were less stressed at work under these arrangements, while 70% of employees said that this policy has a positive impact on their quality of life and mental health.
When asked what an extra day would be used towards, 65% of employees said they would use this time to spend with their family — a critical aspect for anyone wanting a better work-life balance.
The four-day work week is not a blip on the radar of workplace trends. However, simply cutting down a day and expecting the same number of hours for less pay won’t be enough. Employees want to know that an extra day off will not lead to their work piling high and can actually be used towards improving their quality of life.