The New Working Week

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Some companies are contemplating the idea of the new working week, a four-day working week. A study has shown that implementing a four-day working week has improved productivity and lowered running costs while still paying employees a full salary.

Two thirds of businesses within the UK have already implemented a four-day working week for some if not all of their employees.

Research has estimated that businesses that have introduced a four-day working week would save a combined total of £104 billion pounds. Henley Business School estimated a combined saving totalling £92 billion for businesses offering a four-day week in 2019.

As well as increasing productivity and lowering costs employers have noticed that their employees were less stressed, happier and able to spend more time developing their skills.

Implementing a four-day working week has meant that businesses were able to attract more employees and retain the employees they already have.

Since the start of the pandemic many employees have been more aware of the hours they work and the importance of a good work life balance.

The majority of employees would prefer to work a four-day week if it meant they would still get paid a full salary. Many employees have been keen to adopt a more flexible working approach such as working from home or working shift patterns.

A trial of the four-day week was launched in the UK in January 2022 which involved at least 30 employers. This trial has spread the idea of a four-day working week further than expected.

The four-day working week has positives and negatives. An advantage of the whole of the UK adopting a four-day working week is that it would produce environmental benefits such as it could mean less commuting and potentially reduce the UK’s carbon footprint by 127 million tonnes according to the environmental organisation platform London and the four-day week campaign.

For some businesses a four-day working week is not practical at this point in time while for others they might be thinking of how their business could trial or implement it. It’s uncertain whether the four-day working week will take off completely in the UK but it’s something that companies are considering as part of their plans for the future.

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