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The 4 Day Working Week

The talk of a 4 day working week has been on the cards for many years. With work life balance being top of the agenda as well as good mental health, the possibility maybe sooner than you think.

Studies have shown that there are many advantages in reducing the working week. At present UK employees work the longest hours in Europe however their productivity is low.  In comparison, other European countries such as Germany and Denmark, employees work shorter hours, but their productivity is higher. Thus, the overall impression is that a shorter working week would benefit the employer as well as the employee.

A handful of UK companies have observed the impact of a shorter working week and have themselves trialled this approach with great success. Evidence suggests that 74% of workers were able to complete their 5 days job in 4. The results are happier and content staff with high productivity rates. There is a healthy work life balance and time away from the workplace to spend with family and friends.

Mental Health

Mental health charities, such as Leeds Mind, also support the shorter working week as it has had a positive impact on mental health. It is a fact that longer working hours contributes to work related stress. With reports of stress levels increasing, employers are having to look at alternative working practices such as reduction of working hours to help employees.

Statistically, employers who already implemented a 4-day week have notice a 10% drop-in work-related stress.

5 Top Tips

  1. Have a productivity policy in place. A well detailed policy is an ideal way to communicate to staff the business expectation of a shorter week.
  • Communicate the policy with your staff. Allow staff to make the choice of whether they wish to partake in a shorter week. Staff can opt in or opt out. 
  • Trial the policy over a reasonable period, such as 3 months plan. There is no commitment to a long term 4-day week if the plan is simply not working.
  • External consultants. There are independent consultants who have trialled a shorter week before and can assist in making a plan based on your organisational needs.
  • Do your research. How have others managed to apply this. Explore what worked, what didn’t and what you can apply into your company to ensure it is a success. 

If you need help and advice regarding mental health in the workplace or implementing a 4 day working week, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0113 350 4030 or at emma.roberts@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and litigation practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide. Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Emma Roberts
Latest posts by Emma Roberts (see all)
Emma Roberts

Emma is a trainee solicitor at SCE Solicitors. Emma commenced her training contract in September 2018 and is currently working in the employment law department assisting director Samira Cakali. Emma also assists in the running of the firm’s myHR service where she can support you in the day-to-day management of your staff.

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