The idea of a four-day workweek has gained a lot of attention and positive feedback, especially with the recent release of data from the UK’s largest trial involving 3,300 workers. Surprisingly, 71% of participants felt less burned out, and 48% reported feeling happier with their jobs. Earlier tests had also shown promising outcomes, but not all companies are ready to embrace a potential 20% reduction in work hours.
While the benefits are becoming clearer, some businesses still have reservations about making such a significant change. As discussions about this new work model continue, it’s important to recognise the progress made in highlighting its advantages. However, successfully implementing a four-day workweek across different industries and companies will require a flexible and thoughtful approach.
It should be noted that flexible working can be realised by businesses through various means, not just the four-day work week. This article will discuss other options that companies can consider to enable more flexibility for their employees.
Flexible Hours or Four-day Workweek?
Within the context of a 40-hour workweek, the question arises: does it truly need to be uniformly spread across five days?
In recent times, many companies have embraced a more flexible approach, enabling employees to effectively manage these hours according to their preferences. They can also combine work from home with flexible hours. This newfound flexibility empowers individuals and is a preferred form of flexible working for parents. Through this, they can rearrange their schedules to accommodate childcare commitments.
Another form of flexibility is the introduction of “summer Fridays” or “summer hours”, which has become popular in the last year. The term refers to the allowance for employees to take some of the Fridays during the summer off, or ending the Fridays early. The idea is to allow employees to enjoy more relaxed time and activities during the season.
For non-seasonal approaches, companies may also introduce shorter hours or compressed hours for some employees. This has been experimented on by various businesses, to see the efficacy of the approach.
Focusing on Output
An approach that companies can do is to remove working hours completely and focus purely on the output. By shifting the focus, employees will be able to have maximum flexibility in managing their time while still delivering in their roles.
Moving away from constant time monitoring can yield significant benefits, fostering improved morale and creating a dynamic workspace where employee productivity rises, teamwork strengthens, and adaptability becomes part of the company culture.
Many businesses are now linking compensation to project performance, reflecting a broader shift towards assessing outcomes. This not only brings clarity to the company’s goals but also ensures a more transparent evaluation of employee contributions.
The interplay of these progressive strategies marks a departure from traditional time-centric monitoring. This shift propels businesses towards a future where the focus is on results, collaboration thrives, and the organisational spirit is one of empowerment.