Workforce Management News: 4-Day Working Week Pilot in UK
Participating organisations to operate a reduced working week to see if such a practice is commercially viable
A new six-month pilot scheme will see researchers measuring the impact on employee productivity and wellbeing of UK employers trialling a four-day week without a corresponding reduction in staff pay.
The scheme is a collaboration between 4 Day Week Global, think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign and researchers at Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University. It will run as part of a global initiative, with other pilot schemes taking place in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Some employees in the UK might already be working a four-day week. However, this is usually due to flexible working practices such as compressed hours, or reduced hours with a pro-rata reduction in salary. The terms of the new pilot differ in that it aims to measure the output produced rather than the hours worked; staff will be working one day less without an increase in daily working hours, whilst still receiving the same pay.
There are several potential benefits for employers switching to a four-day week. With an extra day off, workers will be far more rested, happier and engaged, increasing their performance. It’s not difficult to see how this could equate to an overall productivity gain. After all, four days at 100% productivity is better than five days at 75%. It’s also likely that this will increase the quality of work produced in addition to quantity.
Every year, UK businesses lose billions of pounds due to sickness absence. Stress, overwork and mental health issues are attributed to a large portion of these sick days, with stress being the most common cause of long-term sickness leave. Working four days a week promotes a better work/life balance and also allows more time for stress-reducing activities such as exercise.
Following the coronavirus pandemic, more employees than ever are currently looking to change jobs within the next year, in what is being termed The Great Resignation. With this shift in the job market, companies need to focus more than ever on retention and recruitment if they want to ensure a skilled workforce. Job benefits such as a four-day week are highly desirable, and can make your organisation stand out from others both to existing and prospective employees.
To get the most out of a four-day week, it is important to consider the implications of rolling out such a system across your organisation. Ensuring the right technology is in place is an integral part. For example, customer-facing functions will need to be maintained across the whole week, so you will need the right workforce management tools to plan sufficient coverage. You will also need a method of monitoring working hours to ensure that staff aren’t working longer days in an attempt to hit targets during a reduced week. This is likely to defeat the purpose of a four-day week, increasing stress and decreasing wellbeing and productivity.
Bodet’s Workforce Management Solution enables you to offer a range of flexible working practices such as a four-day week whilst ensuring staff levels and workforce visibility. Our Staff Planning Module means you can create work schedules in advance that align with your own internal rules and meet staff skill requirements. Through our Clocking In Systems and Kelio Time & Attendance Software, you have full real-time visibility of your employees, with the ability to produce reports on historical attendance data.
To find out more about how we can help you offer a four-day week and other flexible working practices, please contact us.