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Operating a 4 day work week

4 day week

We’ve been exploring the pros and cons of a 4 day working week, and looking closely at how employers are approaching this arrangement. You can read this month’s Hot Topic on the subject, and its accompanying webinar recording.

As part of our webinar last month, ‘The pros and cons of adopting a 4 day work week’, we ran several interactive polls to find out the extent SME businesses are considering, or, already having in place this work arrangement. Our key results are:

Of those participating in the polls:
• 8% already operated a four day working week
• 65% were considering implementing it in the future

In understanding the reasons for operating a four day week, or intending to do so, we found (participants could select as many relevant answers):
• 73% were operating it for their employee’s wellbeing
• 54% chose to do it to help employee engagement
• 21% introduced it to reduce staff turnover and
• 17% introduced it to help overcome recruitment challenges

We also asked participants to let us know what their main challenges would be for their business in adopting a four day work week:
• 33% believed it would be difficult to co-ordinate work across the team
• 32% believed there would be challenges in maintaining productivity
• 25% said it would be a challenge to continue providing excellent customer service
• 10% said it would be difficult to manage who had which day off (in the situation where the business continued to operate over 5 days)

For those who did not operate a four day week, nor have any intention to do so, did so because (more than one answer could be selected):
• 13% were unsure on how to implement the arrangement
• 8.7% did not think it would be easy to administer
• 39% did not think it would work in their own business
• 39% believed that it would have a negative impact on customers/clients

At the end of the webinar, we asked those who told us at the start that they were not introducing a four day week, whether they would consider it now?

• 64% said they remained unsure about introducing the arrangement
• 25% said that they would now be looking to introduce it
• 11% said that they would not consider doing so

Those who would be considering introducing a 4 day week provided clarity around the reasons why they would be doing so:
• 35% would do so to help reduce staff turnover
• 85% would implement it to support employee wellbeing
• 72% believed it would help improve employee engagement
• 35% believed it would help to overcome their recruitment challenges

What our research into this subject has found, is that there is certainly a strong business case for introducing this form of working, although it won’t be practical for all businesses.

In considering whether it can be implemented, the priority will be to look at the business case for why you wish to introduce it and how it ultimately will align with business goals. Having undertaken this analysis, then it is about understanding the challenges that it could bring and working through how these can either be overcome or minimised.

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