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Four-day working week: A great idea… but it won’t suit everyone

THE IDEA of a four-day working week may have a strong business case. But it may not be practical for all businesses.

Moving from a traditional Monday to Friday work pattern to the latest 100:80:100 model – in which employees receive their full salary but only work 80% of their standard hours in exchange for worker commitment to maintaining 100% productivity – is a bold step.

And the method proved a great success in a worldwide trial that took place in the wake of the pandemic, with Covid-19 having already changed many aspects of our working lives.

However, some employees could see the change as giving them increased workload as they have less time to do the same job. There is a risk that teams could end up feeling overworked and overwhelmed if the scheme is not introduced correctly.

Less than one in ten employers already operate a four-day week locally. But a poll by people company HR Solutions has found that around two in three employers in the region are considering implementing four-day working in the future.

HR Solutions CEO Greg Guilford pictured left said: “In order for the 100:80:100 model to be successful, workers must use their time more wisely, concentrating on being as effective as possible in a smaller time frame to achieve the same level of performance,” said HR Solutions chief executive Greg Guilford. “Four-day working weeks have been proven to improve employee morale and motivation, leading to a more engaged and focused workforce which results in reduced stress levels, lower absenteeism and lower staff turnover.”

The HR Solutions survey found that 73% of employers were in favour of four-day working in order to improve staff wellbeing and 21% hoped it would reduce employee turnover. However, one in three of those questioned feared it would be difficult to coordinate work. A similar number worried about maintaining productivity.

“Priority should be to look at the business case for why you wish to introduce a four-day working week and how it ultimately will align with business goals,” said Mr Guilford. “You must also understand the challenges that it could bring and how these can either be overcome or minimised.

“Happy and motivated people are a core part of a successful business. And while there is great potential in this kind of scheme, a contented workforce may also be achieved through good internal communication, relevant staff reward schemes, job flexibility, equality and fair opportunity.”

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