What you should know about a four-day work week

What you should know about a four-day work week

June 15, 2022

While the idea of paying 100% pay for 80% work may not sound appealing for most businesses, a four-day work week pilot beginning in June 2022 and involving more than 30 UK companies aims to prove otherwise - that hours logged doesn’t matter as much as results. 

As the US and Ireland are also setting up similar programs, whilst Australia, Canada, and New Zealand are said to join later on, this Pacific Prime CXA article discusses the four-day work week in a bit more depth!

What is the four-day work week?

Around the world, Monday to Friday is usually considered as the work week. But four-day work weeks are also a thing when bank holidays fall on a Monday or Friday. Employees celebrate these occasions, but most don’t give it a second thought - that is until now. 

Not to be confused with a compressed work schedule, where employees work all of their five-day working hours in four days, a four-day work week reduces the hours worked whilst still providing the same salaries and benefits. 

Let’s take the four-day work week pilot in the UK as an example. Considering 8 hour work days, employees will only be expected to work for 32 hours (8 hours x 4 days) per week rather than 40 hours (8 hours x 5 days) per week. 

Although a reduction in working hours may seem radical, it has in fact been on the decline since the late 19th century - thanks to modern technology increasing our productivity. So much so that it begs the question: are longer hours actually conducive to producitvity

Is a four-day work week right for your business? 

With many countries and companies trialing a four-day work week, and Iceland and New Zealand even witnessing its success, let's explore the pros and cons to help you decide whether a four-day work week is suitable for your business.

Pros of a four-day work week

To begin with, employees will have more time for rest and relaxation, and can use the extra time they have on their hobbies, health, and more. This makes them happier and healthier, which brings a number of spillover benefits for businesses including: 

  • Lower operating costs due to closing the office for an extra day.
  • Happier workforce, who tend to be more productive and loyal to the company.
  • Better employee health and wellbeing by giving them an extra day off to recharge, which will lower employee health costs.
  • Ability to attract and retain employees with a policy that favors good work-life balance, which will also reduce turnover costs. 

Cons of a four-day work week 

Unfortunately, a four-day work week might not suit every business model. It’s something that’s only possible for companies that can restructure their business to accommodate a new way of working. Additionally, there’s a few disadvantages that are worth mentioning as well:

  • Poor customer satisfaction due to fewer office-based staff (though technology can mitigate this issue).
  • Increased stress, lower productivity, and poor wellbeing if a four-day work week results in longer shifts.

Reach out to Pacific Prime CXA 

Whether or not you’re considering implementing a four-day work week, you can always make the move to become more flexible. When it comes to flexibility, the benefits are clear and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing - i.e. there’s a whole spectrum of arrangements you can offer to help employees improve their work-life balance. 

While we’re on the note of meeting employees’ needs, do you have a suitable employee benefits program? Pacific Prime CXA can help you design, implement, administer, and optimize your employee benefits offerings using cutting-edge technology. Contact our team of specialists to get started!