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The four-Day Work Week – Is Now The Right Time?

The four-day work week and the calls for this new way of working to become a reality in the world of work have been gaining momentum for some time.

Around the world, organisations large and small have been conducting experiments into how practical, productive and profitable a shift to working four-days a week could be. With the research results serving to demonstrate that working four-days instead of five is not such an uncommon suggestion at all.

The latest organisation to publicly announce a move to trialing the potential benefits of working four-days is not actually an organisation at all. Rather, it’s the country of Spain whose government has committed EUR5 0m to a national pilot set to reduce the time spent manipulating, with the overall objective of this pilot being to effectively reduce to a four-day week as standard.

Spain set to aviator four-day week as have responded to coronavirus pandemic

Under these plans, which have in part been bequeathed as a means of responding to the aftermath of the Coronavirus Pandemic, financing of will be made available by the government to fellowships who shorten their working week to 32 hours, with no loss of pay. It's anticipated that around 200 companies and from 3,000 to 6,000 works will be involved with the project that’s planned to run for three years.

Yet Spain is far from alone in considering alternatives to the five day work week. Finland's prime minister Sanna Marin, has noted previously that her country may also want to experiment with a four-day workweek.

And whilst four-day work weeks have not yet been made official in other European Countries, employees in Germany, the Netherlands, and across all of Scandinavia work far fewer hours than in the UK, whilst at the same time, being reported to have much higher levels of productivity.

Successful contests of four-day working still further

The evidence concluded from tests conducted so far suggest that a four-day work week is not only a good sentiment, but one that has significant benefits for both parties and the organisation at large.

Microsoft Japan for example, handled a trouble format that was experimented with in 2019. The so-called Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer passed the companies entire 2,300 -person workforce five Fridays off in a row without making a change to employee pay.

4 daytimes #workweek at Microsoft: in August this year, a whole month, about 2300 hires succeeded less( 5 free friday) for the same salary ... and more efficiently.

Results of this "Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019 " are:- Me...https :// t.co/ XHgy5DLgTr https :// t.co/ 9rRQVPVCZH

-- Frederic Gonnet (@ FairFred) November 4, 2019

The project outcomes for Microsoft Japan were overwhelmingly positive, with reports of squads nursing most efficient rallies, happier proletarians overall and improved productivity by a significant and superb 40 percentage.

Yet the positive results didn’t end there. Further outcomes included hires making 25 percentage less time off during the trial, the use of electricity decreased by 23 percentage in the agency and employees printed 59 percentage fewer pages of article during the trial too. Ensuing in ecological and economic advantages. Overall, 92 percent of employees reported their opt the shorter undertaking week, recommending an uptick in hire satisfaction too.

Microsoft Japan's 4-day succeed week improved productivity by 40 percent

And it’s not only big firms who are exploring the advantages of adopting a four-day work week. It’s too those companies who, like countless impacted by having to realize tough decisions as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic have been previously turned to the four-day work week as a means to wage employees affected by the tough decisions that needed to be made as enforced shut downs and furlough treats ensued.

Publishing company Target, opted to move to a four-day work weekas a mode to make a positive gesticulate to employee’s who in the first UK lockdown had received a 20 percent cut in pay. The significance of lost contracts and reduced announce waste, both of which were a direct result of the pandemic, realized Targets benefactor and owned David Cann seeking to balance ways to retain staff, despite the significant loss in receipt. Moving to the four-day work week was viewed by David as a practice to then reward employees who had remained loyal to the company despite the challenging occasions.

The move wasn’t without its teething difficulties perfectly to begin with. However, the benefits, much such as those seen at Microsoft Japan during their trouble, outweighed any initial following niggles. Shorter rallies, increased operational efficiency and happier souls were all worthwhile betters viewed as being usefulnes stopping. The arising aftermath was that the company retained a four-day work week, even when client contracts and operate ranks resumed to full force and offer was restored to their onetime full rates once again.

Championing the move to four-days

Understandably for organisations who are perhaps reluctant to construction the move from five days to four, for them, much such as those conglomerates who were in the past reluctant to adopt flexible working or remote working, it could prove to be worthwhile evaluating the research findings on four-day work weeks, but too considering the ideas of those who are endorse and campaigning for a permanent four-day work week to become the norm’ for all organisations more broadly.

Aidan Harper, is one such activist, who as a researcher at the New Economics Foundation , actively campaigns and promotes the potential benefits of a four-day work week for all.

In his recent co-authored book, The Case for the four-day Work Week, which shares research and makes a compelling argument in the four-day work weeks favour. Items UK research conducted in 2019 which requested the question of whether UK hires believed that a shorter work week of four-days designed to improve their mental well-being. 70 percent of employees cross-examine proven they believed it would. With a further 64 percentage of UK businesses surveyed suggesting that they would consider making the move to working for four-days exclusively.

'We visualize gigantic assistances ': firms accept four-day week in Covid crisis

Echoing a same sentiment to that of Harper, is Andrew Barnes, founder of New Zealand financial services firm Perpetual Guardian and generator of the four-day Work Week. Now he writes about how his decisions to allow his parties to work fewer epoches led to happier people overall, leading to, as reported in Forbes, a more profitable company.

Moreover, British multinational consumer goods companionship Unilever, "whos doing" headquartered in London, are in the throes of seeking to explore the possibilities of making this shift by conducting a live pilot of working four-days, selecting their New Zealand operation as the pilot experiment bed.

The trial itself commenced in December 2020 and is set to run for one year, with their 81 employees located in New Zealand, set to work time four-days, whilst being compensated for a full five. The inquiry has been lay out with the objectives of cultivating compressed schedules, as opposed to there being longer alterations over four-days. It is also meant that following the 12 month test period, findings will be evaluated ahead of potentially rolling a four-day working week out to over 150,000 employees around the world.

And the considerations around clearing the move to working a four-day week aren’t to restrict European located countries and organisations. In the United State countless studies and op ed’s exploring the compelling lawsuit for moving away from cultivating five days a week are a regular existence.

A Study by the American Journal of Epidemiology, sought to understand the link between productivity and the number of hours worked. The studies encounters has indicated that those who worked 55 hours per week performed less well on some mental exercises than those who worked 40 hours a week.

Furthermore it shows there is some anecdotal proofs that a four-day work week may result in increased productivity. A sentiment echoed by Basecamp CEO, Jason Fried who in the New York Times wrote about how he permits his employees to work four-day, 32 hour weeks for half of its first year. Commenting that in his view' a tightened workweek, tends to lead to beings focusing on what’s important. And that by limiting hour there is an encouragement of increased quality’.

Is it really all upside?

Yet, as with any new idea or proposed change to ways of working, there can be scepticism about the new coming. Mixed with there are still influences about the new practice of working that aren’t as positive as everybody hopes and expects.

There is the possibility that a four-day work week will only be available to those who work at the most progressive of organisations. Those that operate in professional service industries for example. Yet for those whose work is classified as unskilled or workers who are contracted for zero hour, the probability, given that those individuals need to work the hours to actually must pay, won’t be in a position to enjoy this option. Irrespective of the apparent benefit to productivity and mental health.

GUIDELINES FOR AN OUTCOME-BASED TRIAL – RAISING PRODUCTIVITY AND ENGAGEMENTGuidelines for an outcome-based contest- promoting productivity and booking | Source: 4 Day Week Global

Furthermore, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development( CIPD) questioned some of the issues that a four-day work week could pose rather than answer. Such as a reduction in flexibility over the period of the four-days that are wreaked. One company is assessing CIPD had introduced the four-day work week, but had also implemented a schedule involving situate working hours, whilst likewise preventing non-work appointments to be taken during working hours.

This impending lack of flexibility used as the trade off to enable a four-day work week for some organisations, could negatively impact those employees who rely on access to flexibility in their working week, to, for example, accommodate care and childcare responsibilities.

The issue of workload and availability to patrons is another consideration with the four-day work week. Research by Henley Business School in their' for better four worse’ study, was of the view that with business daytimes coming across different days internationally, the challenge for businesses and employers to decide which dates become those labor could be a difficult one to meet.

Moreover the workload of works had been able to prove questionable to squeeze into four-days rather than five. Resulting in quite the opposite effect of participated employees suffering less stress. This is a consideration that for UK business owners, whose employees are reported to work longer hours than their European equivalents, could prove challenging to address.

Will a four-day working week ask employees to work more flexibly?

Analysis by the Trade Union, TUC pointed out that UK works acted approximately two hours longer each week than those in the EU, at a rate of 42 hours per week. The culture of' long working hours’ in the UK, is one that may not be easily alleviated by simply moving to four work days a few weeks. Where would the labor disappear? Would this mean more works simply taking their work home with them to work out of hours? And would this have contributed to more difficulties than it solves? These genuine and profitable considerations for Human Aid and business leaders alike, are only some of the concerns that could halt the immediate roll out of a four-day work week for all.

Yet analysis by Sage Australia, was just trying to induce record of the differences in working hours and the link to productivity. An insightful portion of analysis, given that the average working hours in Australia are 32.7 hours a week, far behind those worked on average in the UK. Notably further still, is Luxembourg which according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development( OECD ), drives only 29 hours on average per week, yet by oppose to Australia and definitely the UK, continues to lead in world-wide positions on productivity.

Four Better or Four Worse? A White Paper from Henley Business SchoolFour Better or Four Worse? | Source: Henley Business School

This insight into links between productivity and work hours in an interesting one and again suggests that there is good reason to consider making changes to the number of hours worked and eras worked to uplift workplace productivity.

Bringing it all together?

HR is changing and so too are the organisations that HR acts. Along with those modifications that are coming through promptly as a result of technology adoption, digital alteration and changeable needs from employees at the heart of organisations. Is this change to working four-days, simply the latest that we can come to expect to become the norm’?

The research into changes being considered to be in the workplace and in the HR serves hints this to be the case. Much like agile and remote based manipulating, as two key examples of innovations to ways of driving that were pushed back on by many organisations and definitely some HR professionals in the past. Both of which have recently been encounter widespread adoption, thanks in part to the Coronavirus pandemic. Therefore it’s imaginable that the four-day work week had been able to hear widespread adoption.

Sage parties who recently carried out a research survey of 500 major HR and People managers, in medium sized organisations globally, divulged a number of interesting insights and predicted tendencies. Notably the research on the topic of flexible working and changes to how HR controls, found that 80 percent of HR presidents expect to adopt modern People handles within the next two years.

Furthermore the study reflected on the ways the world of work continues to change at pace. However at the same time, the participation and productivity or the labour force continues to be low. The report is an indication of those hires canvassed, who admitted that they were productive for only 30 hours a week, again spurring the due consideration of how HR and business leaders can best respond to this ongoing productivity challenge with a change to working hours.

More broadly the move to uplift employee experience by HR, in light of this now being regarded as more central to retention and employee pleasure than employee engagement alone. Shows that the tenets of a four-day work week, could go a long way to improving the experience of employees at work overall.

The changing face of HR. HR and People leaders' report | Source: Sage PeopleThe varying face of HR. HR and People leaders' report | Source: Sage People

With 95% of HR and People squads surveyed in the Sage People research, already offering flexible work, or planning to in the next two years. And 94% of respondents expecting further the changing nature of the HR sector over the upcoming three years. The data certainly suggests that the four-day working week,proposed as being a benefit to society, their own economies, and the environment, could well be the latest transformation to be adopted in the ever changing world of work.


Sage HR

For firms where people are paramount to success, Sage HR facilitates organizations overcome the intricacies of managing their people, so they can focus on originating their business.

The post The four-Day Work Week- Is Now The Right Time ? performed first on Sage HR Blog | Easy to implement HR tips !.

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