Are you offering your IT teams a 4-day work week?
Are you planning to offer your IT teams a 4-day work week? This popular topic continues to stay on everyone’s mind, with many companies across the UK still trialling one as we speak.
Research shows that unsurprisingly 80% of the British public would prefer a 4-day work week, however, we recognise that this implementation does not work for every business, or every country as we found out in one of our recent blogs where we looked into ‘Which countries have already adopted a 4-day working week’.
There are both pros and cons which will help you decide whether to offer a 4-day working week to your IT teams.
Giving your employees the chance to spend more time with family or friends will always make you popular. Many companies have found that a shorter week has motivated their employees to come to work, removing the daunting threat of Mondays.
Attracting and retaining staff
Hiring managers will welcome a 4-day working week with open arms as it is an attractive initiative to help sell your business when recruiting. It could also be deciding factor if your candidate is choosing between your company and another!
A shorter week may encourage your team to perform at a faster pace or help them to stay on track and increase their organisation skills. Many people feel motivated by a little bit of pressure.
Its important to remember that many of those in your IT teams will spend most of their day looking at a screen. Therefore, a 4-day week could be the solution to procrastination, eye strain and tiredness in the workplace.
Doesn’t suit all industries
Earlier this year, many different industries began trialling a 4-day work week, and many found that the condensed week did not work out how they had hoped.
Some industries require a seven-day presence in order to function normally – for example a police station or a hospital.
Increased stress levels
Many companies have chosen to implement a 4-day working week in two ways:
- Working the same hours over 4 days, meaning most will work a 10-hour day rather than the average 8 hours.
- Working less hours for the same salary
Unfortunately, there are drawbacks for both ways. By working more than 8 hours in one day, most people will begin to get tired and struggle to focus, especially on a long-term basis.
Furthermore, working less hours can force employees to push themselves too hard in the attempt to fit 5 days’ worth of work into 4 days.
If you’re contemplating a 4-day work week for your business, which model would you choose?
Which sectors have already trialled a 4-day week?
In September, we hit the halfway mark for the UK trial, and data showed that “around 86% of those surveyed said they would keep the four-day week policy going after the trial ends.”
With the current cost of living crisis, it seems that many employees are able to save money on commuting and childcare costs due to the shorter week. Director of Research Will Stronge at Autonomy has said:
“A four-day week with no loss of pay could play a crucial role in supporting workers to make ends meet over the next few years.”
This is certainly something to consider when making your decision, however it may also help you to know some of the industries that have already trialled a 4-day working week:
- Hospitality – feedback from hospitality has been mixed. Many hospitality businesses found it even more difficult to organise a rota with the introduction of a 4-day week, and due to customer demand, it is difficult to maintain productivity when reducing these hours.
- Finance – ‘Atom Banking’ decided to implement a permanent 4-day week in 2021 after trialling it. They explained that they are “determined to make this a success and challenge traditional and antiquated working practices.” In their explanation, they also described how a 4-day week can have a positive impact on the environment, by reducing emissions.
- Marketing – Most marketers can not only work from home, but they also have more flexibility when it comes to when and where they work. Marketing Agency ‘Literal Humans’ have been influenced by other large corporations that have implemented a shorter working week.
- Recruitment – we introduced ‘Flex-Friday’ just over a year ago now and have seen many other recruitment agencies follow suit as the schedule of a recruiter can be flexible.
- Tech – Social STEM Enterprise ‘Stemettes’ decided to make the move to a 4-day week as it was a “logical evolution” to their existing flexible working initiatives. They also mentioned the tech-savvy nature of their employees, and because of their access to digital technology, they are able to automate processes to save time.
- Retail / eCommerce – Online retailer and book shop ‘Bookishly’ have approached the 4-day week a little differently as they decide to close up shop on a Wednesday, rather than a Friday. This makes sense for their retail and eCommerce business as they are able to tag on orders from Wednesday onto Thursday, and weekend orders shouldn’t be affected by the reduction in hours.
Thinking of taking the plunge?
If you’re concerned that your business couldn’t operate within 4 days, you may be interested to know that back in 1914, the normal working week consisted of 6 days rather than 5. This was changed by Henry Ford as he introduced a shorter week to his car production workforce, and unions helped to make a 5-day week the norm across the country.
If it has been done before, it can be done again!
We were and still are proud to be one of the first businesses in the UK to offer a 4-day week to our consultants, which gives them the autonomy to organise and control their week and secure their own ‘Flex Friday’.
Hopefully we have re-ignited your interest in the 4-day work week topic, or helped you determine whether a 4-day working week will really work for your business and your IT teams.