According to a study published by the Trades Union Congress, residents of Britain have to work some of the longest hours in Europe every week.

The study also highlights the fact that even after long working hours, British employees are the least productive workers in Europe. According to few other studies, French workers do more work by the end of the week than the British are able to do in a whole week.

Considering the fact, many organizations are beginning to shorten their employees’ work weeks to improve their health, happiness and efficiency levels.

In fact, in 2018 September, TUC in a notification to all companies and agencies in the United Kingdom requested to implement the four-day work week without reducing their employees’ wages.

We all know how technology and automation have changed the landscape of the manual workforce and that is the main argument of the Union Council. It hopes that companies and agencies across the United Kingdom will adopt technological advancements to reflect positive changes rather than threaten the very livelihoods of British workers.

If you are an employee of a UK company, you should make full use of this report and implement appropriate changes in your work-life balance to better meet the requirements of the job.

Do you want to know the advantages and disadvantages of four-day work weeks?

Keep reading!

The Advantages of Four-Day Work Week

Improved Productivity

The biggest advantage of the four-day work week is improved productivity and most likely that’s the first change that businesses might enjoy. It’s believed that productivity of employees during the remaining working hours will eventually compensates for one less workday.

An official survey conducted in New Zealand has confirmed that this is happening. A separate study demonstrated that productivity is highest among employees over 40 years of age when they are working only 25-30 hours per week.

Efficient Time Management

Employees who work the four-day work week plan are more effective in managing their time. They are more likely to work and finish their work than to waste their time in meetings or conferences. Since they now have to do their five-day work in four days, they are more likely to devote their time to productive work than to social media or breaks.

Improved Employee Satisfaction

Now, your employees have one more day to spend with their family, friends or in their personal lives. It means they will experience less stress and a greater balance between their personal and professional lives.

This results in happier workers, who do their best to meet their job demands. Now, they take their work even more seriously, waste less time while demonstrating creativity and improved work ethics.

Teamwork

When your employees “have” to be more efficient, they were closer with their colleagues to get their job done within the specified timeframe. When efficiency and quality are the main priority, your workers own waste their time on minor disputes. The 14 will work together, with focus to achieve the targeted goals.

Lower Unemployment

paved the way on this one with their Aubry laws when they were dealing with 12 per cent unemployment. Shorter work weeks means that work is shared around. For non-salaried position, that can mean employing multiple workers to fill what used to be one slot.

Environmental Benefits

Four-day work weeks crucially reduce the carbon footprint of a company through less power being used, and even more so by the reduction in employee commuting.

Lower Overhead Costs

A 20 per cent reduction in electricity and utility use isn’t just great for the planet, but also your bottom line.

Lot More Innovations in Terms of Productivity

When new methods of saving time are encouraged, your employees are likely to come up with productivity hacks that are better than ever.

The Disadvantages of Four-Day Work Weeks

Now that you’ve read the eight primary advantages behind four-day work weeks, you might be thinking that your business or company should jump in feet first, right now. Still, you should restrain your enthusiasm, because it’s not always perfect. Some companies find that the risk involved with this experiment is just too expensive. While enhanced efficiency and productivity might mean it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sweden ran a two-year trial where the 40 hours of a work week were reduced to 30 hours, but the five-day structure was kept. Workers reported higher levels of professional satisfaction, but many of them failed to keep up with their work requirements. As such, it just got too costly to continue.

Another factor is that not every industry is able to participate. Some sectors need a 24/7 presence or have other similar scheduling demands, which made four-day work weeks nothing short of impractical.

Also, a four-day work week can waste untapped labour. While many employees would love to switch to four-day work weeks, one Netherlands study found that one and a half million people actually wanted to put in more hours, but they just weren’t able to do so.

In some cases, workers wind up putting in just as many hours anyway. Certain jobs just need 40 hours and can’t be squeezed. This happened in France, where some workers wound up continuing to put in 40 hours, but they started getting overtime for the fifth day. If they were on salary for five days and then moved to four, they’d get their previous five days of pay in four days, meaning their fifth day of now overtime constituted more labour expenses than ever.

Some industries could actually suffer from a four-day schedule. Industries, such as office real estate, do better when people are at work, and they don’t actually benefit from having workers taking another day off.

In Conclusion

As you can see, this model can certainly work for some companies and sectors, but it’s a disaster for others. The idea that your workers could get done just as much work in fewer hours can certainly prove appealing, especially for hourly employees. However, if it’s obviously possible for your staff to do more in less time, shouldn’t they just be doing more work as it is? The four-day work week is also highly biased in the direction of salaried employees over hourly workers, which begs the question of whether or not all employees would need to become salary contracts to make this idea work in the first place.

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