The four-day working week requires employees to work four out of five weekdays; allowing those employees an extra day per week to invest in their personal lives, be it by volunteering, spending time with family, catching up on household work, engaging in physical exercise, and so on. Crucially, the four-day working week ensures that employees are paid the same weekly amount as they would be were they working five days a week.
The implementation of this four-day working week has led to a variety of benefits within committed organisations. First, the four-day working week yields clear positives for employees. One study found that the work/life balance of employees improved by 34% during the first four weeks alone, and other organisations have reported a variety of positive effects, such as increased mental and physical well-being in the workplace and decreases in absenteeism.
Importantly, however, employees are not the only beneficiaries of the four-day working week. Employers stand to gain significantly from the implementation of the shorter week given clear indications of increased employee productivity. Indeed, rather than undergoing a loss of work that would otherwise be carried out on the fifth weekday, organisations have found that employees tend to use their time more efficiently to complete their tasks within the shorter timeframe of their four-day week. That is, employees – encouraged and empowered by their elevated mental and physical health – are far more likely to be capable of consistently delivering high-quality results when given the extra day to invest in their own well-being. Employers can be assured, then, that employee and organisational performance will not suffer under the four-day working week.
These findings cohere with our organisational experience at Advice Direct Scotland (ADS). In 2018, ADS led the way in innovative working practices by implementing the four-day working week, and has seen measurable benefits throughout the years since. For instance, employee absence was greatly reduced, decreasing by 71% between 2017 and 2019, and the employee average number of absent days was reduced by 55%. In addition, the rate of employees leaving the company dropped by a third during this time. From this, it is clear that adopting the four-day week has both encouraged higher levels of attendance and drastically improved the retention of our staff.
This retention of expertise, combined with significantly increased productivity, marks an exceptional and positive change for both employee and employer. Overall, then, implementing the four-day working week is a wise investment; not only for improving the well-being of employees, but for maximising their professional output and strengthening the organisation as a consequence.