A growing number of small businesses are choosing to put this idea into practice, but what are the benefits?
Earlier this year, a UK PR company became one of the first businesses to put a four-day working week in place, while still paying staff the same salaries as they would for a 40-hour week. Since then, more and more businesses are following in their footsteps, but is this really the future for small businesses?
Radioactive PR founder, Rich Leigh, certainly seems to think so. Leigh reveals that during his company’s trial period for the four-day week, they found that employees were more motivated, positive and described a better work-life balance. He also says he’s won new business as a result of the change.
However, critics of the idea claim that the change could not operate long-term, as businesses could not simply stop servicing clients for an extra day every week.
According to research by NatWest, UK SMEs generate less than half as much work as SMEs in Germany, signalling a decline in UK productivity. By taking a closer look at the effects a four-day working week can have, we’re asking whether a four-day working week is the best way to tackle this dwindling productivity and improve the British working environment overall.
The benefits of a four-day working week
The main benefit reported by advocates of the four-day week is an increase in staff productivity. Extra time away from work can have a positive effect on the morale of employees, offering them more free time to spend with family, friends or pursuing hobbies and passions. This in turn means that, by Monday morning, they feel more rejuvenated, energetic and positive about the prospect of getting back to work.
This all comes down the work–life balance. A better work–life balance theoretically leads to employees who are more productive and feel more positive about the time that they spend at work. This, in turn, can lead to better retention rates in your business.
These factors are particularly important when it comes to parents who may struggle with childcare or resent having to spend so much time away from their children.
On a more practical level, a four-day week can save on environmental costs, office bills, lunch costs and tech.
The disadvantages of a four-day working week
There are some consequences of the four-day week which businesses should consider carefully. Chief among these is, of course, the effect of losing one working day a week. This can potentially have a negative impact on workload and customer service, as the company will be less available as a result. This can inhibit your business’s ability to provide the highest level of service, leading clients to look at competitors.
So what’s the answer?
What’s right for your business depends purely on how highly these benefits and disadvantages rank for you in terms of significance. If your company struggles with employee retention and satisfaction, it may be a good idea to trial a four-day working week and see whether any positive effects come out of it. On the contrary, if employee satisfaction is consistently high in your business, but your employees struggle to get everything done in the time they have, then it may not be the right incentive for you.
It also depends what is important to you on a personal level – more business or more free time. This is especially true if you’re a very small team or you work alone.
However you want your business to run, TEDCO Business Support can you make it a success. Call us today on 0191 516 61 02 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.