Four-day weeks work

Four-day work weeks are becoming mainstream, with a raft of benefits for all

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our work patterns, business management and work culture. It has shone a light on the relationships between our wellbeing, how we work, and business performance.

As the UK is coming out of the pandemic, research from the University of Reading has shown that four-day work weeks are becoming more popular. The move is proving to be healthier for employees and businesses.

What research was conducted?

The research was conducted by the Henley Business School at the University of Reading. The research team surveyed 2,000 employees and 500 business leaders, including businesses that have already implemented a four-day working week.

What were the findings?

Four-day work weeks are better for our wellbeing.

  • 66% of workers believe working a four-day week would improve their mental wellbeing.
  • 78% of employers who implemented a four-day week policy saying their employees feel less stressed at work.
  • 75% of employers say their people are happier because of shifting to a four-day week.
  • 68% of workers saying they would enjoy their work more if they were able to work a four-day week.
  • 80% of employees with children see savings on childcare as a major benefit of a four-day week.

Four-day work weeks are better for business.

  • There was a combined savings to UK businesses of roughly £104bn, representing 2.2% of total annual turnover.
  • 68% of employers report a reduction in costs as well as a maintaining of the quality of work being produced.
  • 68% of organisations said a four-day week helped them attract and retain the right talent.

What does they mean?

Each business is unique, and there will remain barriers around feasibility of a four-day week for certain business models. There will also remain barriers around perception and resentment amongst employees. To overcome these, businesses will need a clear set of guidelines and management processes.

Despite the barriers, the general trend is that a four-day work week is growing in popularity. As it does so it can bring a healthier relationship to work and benefits beyond the individual.

How should we view this?

The way we work will continue to evolve as we recover from the pandemic – a four-day week appears to be a key part of this.

As work evolves, we need to ensure the principles of diversity and inclusion are instilled. This means guaranteeing women and minority groups work on a level playing field as an imperative.