You may have heard about the UK’s 4-day working week trial. 70 UK companies of varying sizes are trialing a 4-day working week where employees will work fewer hours and receive the same pay until January 2023.

The trial involves 3,300 employees, and researchers will explore whether this has an impact on productivity and revenue among other things.

It is a voluntary scheme, but it has got many employers wondering whether or not this is something that they should consider.

Orchard Employment Law explores some of the pros and cons of a 4-day working week.

Better Work-Life Balance

Did you know that the 5-day working week was invented by Henry Ford who realised that employees were happier and more productive when they had a free day to spend money or time with their loved ones?

The same could be said for a 4-day working week. Staff are likely to feel valued and be productive knowing that every weekend has at least 3 days.

That being said, this could backfire. Expecting an employee to complete the same amount of work in 20% less time could cause more stress and have a negative impact of the employee’s wellbeing.

Client Demand

A 4-day working week can be great for those roles which are not client-facing and we wholly agree that you should be focusing more on output than bums on seats. If the business is able to achieve a more results-based strategy, then it should but there are some instances when time is important.

These include customer-facing roles where a customer may want to communicate or speak with a staff member.

Costs

Moving to a 4-day working week could save you money as an employer.

Happier employees are more likely to stay in a role for longer, increasing staff retention and saving the business money in recruitment.

If employees are able to be more productive in 4 days than 5 days, they will be less likely to burnout which could mean less money lost due to sickness.

Recruitment

It can also help with attracting talent. Employees are looking for more benefits. You might not be able to offer 20% more pay than your competitor, but you might be able to offer 20% less working time.

Studies in other countries have also shown that a shorter week helps to improve diversity.

Other things to consider

Moving to a 4-day working week would be a contractual change. It would also impact the number of holidays which an employee is entitled to. If you do decide to adopt this 4-day week, you will need to update your policies and documents.

Need help? Contact us

This blog is not intended to be a substitute for advice as it does not consider individual circumstances. For specific support, contact us at www.orchardemploymentlaw.co.uk

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