Advice for Employers

Why A Four-Day Week Is Good For Your Organisation
 

Improving staff wellbeing and building a stronger business are one and the same thing. While a happy workforce is a noble aim in itself, the by-products have many commercial benefits:

 

 

  • Innovation - rested minds are more creative and more likely to imagine and discover new and better ways to run your business.

 

  • Recruitment - a four-day makes your organisation stand out from others in the field and more attractive to talent.

 

  • Retention - a four-day week is a tangible incentive to improve job retention; reducing costs and disruption.

 

  • Sickness - one in four sick days are a direct result of overwork; whereas a four-day week reduces sickness-related absences.

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There are considerable broader benefits to the four-day week, that can also show to your stakeholders that you are a forward-thinking, ethical and socially-responsible company:

 

  • Sustainability - reduce the ecological footprint of your organisation by reducing commuting and carbon-intensive consumption patterns (like buying packaged sandwiches and take away coffees) on your fifth, non-working day of the week.

 

  • Care Friendly - whether for a young child, an elderly parent, or someone else with caring needs, having time away from work to care for those closest to you is of growing importance in our society.

 

  • Gender Equality - a more equal share of paid and unpaid work, including of caring roles traditionally ascribed to women.

 

  • Community Engagement - how an employee uses their fifth day each week should be up to them, but the potential to see employees contribute in a more meaningful way to their local communities can lead to broader benefits for individuals and local areas.

 

It is increasingly recognised that a positive company culture is key to a successful business. A four-day week is a powerful way to shape a positive ethos in the workplace:

 

  • Awareness - a greater awareness of workload and time management amongst staff is critical to scheduling, budgeting and delivering time-dependent projects.

 

  • Balance - learning to balance work alongside other aspects of life encourages sustainable and consistent performance.

 

  • Richness - what we do outside of work inevitably feeds into our work, so time to follow our interests, socialise and gain new skills and knowledge allows staff to return to work with enthusiasm and vitality.

How To Implement A Four-Day Week In Your Organisation
 

  • Change can be tricky. While some relish it, to many people change is difficult. Through effective communication of what to expect and what the benefits will be, this journey can be made much easier.

  • Talk to your staff first. Discuss why the company is deciding to do a four-day week and how it could be implemented. Make sure to get feedback. It is important to have any questions addressed before going ahead.

 

  • If there are concerns about going straight for a permanent commitment, launch a trial first. An organisation-specific trial, designed collaboratively with staff and management, will answer the question of how a four-day week can be the best way forward for the specific firm in question.

 

  • Implementation can be rolled out on a department-by-department basis, rather than attempting to move the entire organisation to the new work structure in one go. This can ease the pressure on HR departments and be a good test bed for the rest of the organisation.

 

  • Assess processes and results. If your organisation has taken the plunge and started implementing the four-day week, monitoring its implementation is an effective way of addressing bumps in the road as they arise. Organisations can then decide whether to make the move permanent and/or expand the scheme to their entire workforce.

 

  • When you permanently reduce your working hours, sign up to our '4 Day Week Employers' accreditation scheme and join the growing network of UK employers who have already made the transition.

Tips and Tricks for Reducing Working Time

  • Cut out unnecessary meetings.

  • Ensure that all work meetings are preceded by the creation of an agenda which is shared at the very least an hour before that meeting.

  • Halve the standard length of meetings.

  • Reduce unnecessary emails.

  • Focused time. Only answer emails at two points in the day for 30mins at a time. Use the rest of the day to have large chunks of focused ‘work’ time.

  • Consider placing your personal mobile phone in another location away from your desk, to avoid distractions and temptations during your focused time.

  • Change job descriptions to focus on outcomes. Check job descriptions and remove unnecessary tasks which take up lots of time, but do not actually contribute towards the organisational outcome you have been hired to achieve.

  • Experiment with new communications like slack.

  • Experiment with new forms of task management like Asana.

Further Advice
 

  • Our FAQs page includes advice on part-time staff, holiday allowances, employment contracts, potentially having to hire additional staff, and measuring productivity.

  • Our Research page provides links to reports and books that look more in-depth at why and how to move to a four-day week.

  • For greater assistance, the think tank Autonomy offers a consultation service to devise trials and guide organisations through the transition to a shorter working week.