The calls for a four-day working week have grown louder in recent years. The advancement of technology, coinciding with companies’ focus on mental health and morale have propelled the debate into the mainstream.
A 4 day week is now possible
Businesses, start-ups chiefly, have become more focused on the happiness of their staff and the ways in which they can obtain maximum productivity, whilst not overworking them.
With new software, it’s easier than ever to afford flexibility and remote working. A focus on automation and machine learning in new tech has saved time and is starting to change the way we spend our working lives. While some people are afraid of the rise of robots and the job market, a potential upside is that if jobs take less time to do, perhaps we should have shorter working weeks.
A 4 day week and remote working
These developments in tech also tie in with the arguments for remote working. Adding the option of more time spent working remotely, allows people the freedom to work around childcare and countless other commitments. This improves the work-life balance which improves morale and therefore productivity.
Is productivity really not hampered?
It’s possible to actually argue that not only is productivity not hampered, it’s actively bolstered, by a shorter working week and remote working.
The New York Times has published its findings on what countries are experimenting with shorter working weeks, which can be read in full here.
Their research reveals that a trust and estate management company in New Zealand, called Perpetual Guardian, has trialled a four-day working week while keeping wages the same. This is a radical move from the standard model of business.
Yet the results were fascinating. It concluded that productivity had increased among its staff, as the company decreased working hours from forty to thirty-two. Perpetual Guardian is currently taking into consideration whether to make the change permanent.
However, it’s not necessarily as straight-forward as it would at first seem. A trial in Gotegorg, Sweden, of six-hour days was found to be too costly to continue. This was despite the noticeably increased staff productivity.
The evidence certainly appears to point to fewer hours resulting in greater productivity, but the trials are ongoing as companies try and flesh out the weight of cost versus time.
Will we be seeing a 4 day working week being the norm soon?
Well, not quite yet. However, the ever-growing argument for reduced hours will not be ending any time soon.
With the growing questions surrounding the health of staff, as well as the added ease that certain technologies like cloud accounting are adding to businesses – calls for fewer hours are getting louder.
Unfortunately, even though it has been trialled and found to increase productivity, currently, it is not economically viable for many businesses. But maybe, after more years and technological advances, a four-day working week may be the norm.
Would your business dare to be different? Would you introduce a 4 day working week? Please share your thoughts below.