Could a four day working week be the future?
A recent report commissioned by the Labour Party has suggested that a four day working week is unrealistic, despite the report also saying that working less without loss of pay would be “good for material and spiritual well-being”.
Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be the case for all sectors.
On the face of it, the idea of a four day working week seems appealing to many; longer hours over fewer days would allow many to use their spare time more effectively. However, working fewer days would not necessarily result in a more productive work force and inevitably, employers are likely to want to reduce pay to reflect the reduction in days (even though the total hours worked may be similar).
Another downside identified by the report is that this proposal may not be something that some workers actually want. Imposing a four day working week would prevent many people from working the hours that they want to work – for example, people who are low paid and therefore need to work more hours in order to earn more.
A four day working week may also be difficult to manage across sectors. However employers could consider allowing employees to have one additional day off a week which would be rostered on a different day for each employee and would then change on a weekly basis.
On balance, a four day working week will not work for all industries but may in some cases achieve a productive workforce who work on a flexible basis. However, there are many other ways in which businesses can accomplish this especially with a lot of work being able to be done remotely.
If you are looking to implement changes to working patterns to allow for a more flexible working environment then you should consider whether your contracts of employment should be updated.
If you would like assistance with this please contact the employment team.