Is Friday the New Saturday?

The concept of the four-day week is simple, employees work four days a week instead of the traditional five, with no reduction in salary, but can it work and are we ready to make the change?

Author: Nicky Forster

This week I was lucky enough to go and see my team, West Ham United progress in the Europa League with an amazing win at home to Seville. A positive Covid test meant that we had to change a child’s ticket to an adult ticket on the day, I imagined that it would have been dealt with in the offices of their London Stadium, and would be the usual frustrating scroll through various telephone options leading to an annoyingly protracted experience, but it wasn’t.

Phoning the ticket line I went straight through to a club official who dealt with my issue and resolved it efficiently within a matter of minutes, on a match day with 68,000 people attending a venue the service was amazing. If it wasn’t for a pre-recorded message at the start saying that all employees of the ticket office are working from home I would have never known.

It was a great example of how efficiently a remote style of working can be.


In theory, this home style of working offers the best deal for both employer and employee, but in reality, despite all the perks remote workers enjoy, there are a number of challenges that arise from working out of the office. According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, the most common problem remote workers have is unplugging after work

Over the past 2 years, homes have now become a workplace, school, and place for relaxation and the lines between them all have become blurred, leading to increased work / family conflict.

More people are working a greater number of hours, and there are no office time boundaries, this results in an ‘always on culture’ with employees sending emails and work related documents at all hours, I read recently that Samsung have installed a piece of software in their email system which when an employee sends an email to another employee who has logged off for the day, it bounces back an email to let them know that the recipient has logged off, is no longer at work, and gives him an option to continue to send the message if it’s important, or two hold the email and send it to the employee when they log back on again, and that’s a really simple piece of software that puts the mental health of the employee first.

 

The lack of scheduled work times will take away from leisure time and as is, people are socializing less and there is lesser human contact, which is a big risk for mental health issues.

As more employees return to offices, many companies are looking at new ways of working to improve productivity, work-life balance and happiness.

One option companies are now looking to improve our quality of life is to adopt a four day working week.

 

Often, this idea divide’s opinion, with employees thinking it to be a good idea and employers feeling that they will lose productivity as a result.

However, worldwide pilot programs of this format have proved to be an “overwhelming success” with clear signs of increased employee satisfaction, company commitment and teamwork, whilst decreased employee stress levels.

Productivity remained the same or improved in the majority of workplaces, researchers said.

Another, overlooked and yet significant benefit of companies operating a four day week profile is a smaller carbon footprint which could have an enormous environmental impact

A number of other trials are now being run across the world, including in Spain and by Unilever in New Zealand.

Workers reported feeling less stressed and at risk of burnout, and said their health and work-life balance had improved. They also reported having more time to spend with their families, do hobbies and complete household jobs.

Employees are willing to make sacrifices in return for a four-day work week

Many employees are willing to consider tradeoffs, like working longer hours on workdays or taking a pay cut, in order to have recurring three-day weekends.

 

With such a huge spotlight on mental health issues, I often talk about the need for us all to work on our components of life, to keep tapping into areas like health, personal development, wealth and financial security, our social life, the relationships with family and friends and the psychological and spiritual side of life.

The responsibility will always lie on our own individual shoulders to work on ourselves on a daily basis to maintain healthy mental well-being, but there is an increasing shift towards companies ensuring that they do their best to help employees in this area too.

Could a four-day week be a major step in the right direction towards happier life for us all?

 

There are lots of simple ways of managing stress in your life, drop me an email and let me help!

Author: Nicky Forster

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