There have been rumblings in the media and politics across a variety of different sectors over the last few months around the prospect of a 4-day working week.
The debate comes after the UK’s Trade Union Council (TUC) called for a reduction in working hours as technology, automation and artificial intelligence continue to develop productivity.
The reduced week would amass to around 28 hours and mean that UK workers could work fewer hours without any loss of pay – sounds great, right? As with most things though, there are those for it and those against it.
Those in favour are zealously arguing its corner and campaigning for the multitude of benefits a 4-day working week would bring, while others can’t help but see the cloud that always has to come with any silver lining.
The benefits of a 4-day working week
A happier workforce
There aren’t many people who wouldn’t have a smile put on their face at the prospect of a 3-day weekend.
Giving staff that extra time to relax, travel and spend time with their loved ones will foster a more engaged and energetic workforce whose mental wellbeing and motivation levels should improve.
A happier workforce with more spare time at their disposal are less likely to want to book time off work or pull the infamous ‘sickie’.
Freeing up even a small part of the working week will mean staff have more time to complete the tasks they would normally require annual leave for such as travel, childcare and general errands.
A cost-cutting tactic
Reducing the time staff are ‘at the office’ will in turn lower overheads and building running costs for business owners. Not only will this have a positive impact on cash flow and profit, it will also help companies become more eco-conscious and energy efficient.
Attraction and retention of staff
Implementing a 4-day working week will position your business as progressive and inclusive of the modern work-life balance. This will be extremely attractive to the new generation of talent as well as existing staff.
The problems a four-day working week might create
Not enough hours in the week
While cutting back on time spent at work would no doubt prove transformative for personal lives, it might become problematic during particularly busy periods at work.
Staff will still be expected to produce the same amount of work within a reduced amount of time which could give rise to issues around output quality and time management.
A breakdown in communication lines
Although it would most probably only be a small amount, shortening the working week has the potential to weaken communication between staff. Shifting the balance could then therefore have implications on productivity and output.
Hindering staff social bonds
For some, going to work is their main source of social interaction so shortening the working week could run the risk of loneliness and the breakdown of personal relationships which have a positive impact on professional collaboration.
So, what are your thoughts on a four-day working week? Are you backing the benefits or are you feeling wary of the disadvantages? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @AccountancyPart.
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