Rarely does a day go by without another business announcing the introduction of a four-day working week. Some research has claimed that four-day weeks lead to increased productivity levels, job satisfaction and generally higher moral.
However, despite this idea seeming positive on the surface, especially from an employee’s perspective, there could be some negative impacts. Sarah Kauter, director of VerriBerri, discusses both the pros and cons of this concept, debating whether it’s a good move for the future of your business or not.
The simple equation suggests that if there are fewer days in the week to work, it means employees will have to speed up their processes in order to complete their tasks. This, in turn, leads to higher productively levels and a faster turnover of results. We’re faced with tighter deadlines to finalise work meaning our general speed levels rise.
But there are a number of factors that contribute to productivity. Stress levels and tiredness are effects of working for longer hours each day and can impact our work. This inevitably leaves us feeling drained, resulting in a lower quality of work and the potential of mistakes affecting both internal and external processes.
Linked closely to productivity, the reduction in working hours could lead to other elements of workload being sacrificed. This can include having shorter meetings and attempting to help speed up the working day by checking social media. Now with a whole day being lost, employees are encouraged to work around the clock, ensuring everything is completed before the final day of the week.
Employees will soon become accustomed to working out a new schedule in order to maximise efficiency, but there is an argument to say this time frame is almost too little. Missing out a day’s work, especially in a job where you’re already busy from 9-5 will eventually get the better of you and soon you could find yourself playing catch up, potentially in the comfort of your own home. The argument, of course, can be made for both sides, but to say it’s a schedule with longevity is questionable.
A topic many employees will enjoy the most. Having three day weekends, every week, is what many employees have always dreamt of and why wouldn’t you be happy about it? It allows us to do more of the things we want. We have longer to recover from the working week, giving us time to relax.
Another point many individuals raise is a better work-life balance. While on the surface this may seem true, many forget that employees are working longer days to make up for the day off. This means a reduction in the time spent with family on these days, potentially missing events that may take place immediately after work and in some job roles, losing out on weekend activities because you’re trying to recover.
The ultimate conclusion to this debate about four day weeks being the future is the risk element. If employees fail to meet their work requirements, it’ll show to be a failure. This could mean further problems for the business on a larger scale as workloads could fall behind. Alongside this, the costs to keep the business running could rise significantly, causing major setbacks in any progression plans.