The four-day work week continues to be a thrilling, divisive and complicated innovation in the world of work.
The four-day week continues to be a thrilling, divisive and complicated innovation in the world of work. Peter Jones, founder and Managing Director of Foyne Jones tells us what he thinks is going to happen.
“Only 12 months ago, I was an open supporter of the four-day week and now that the results of the nationwide pilot are in, it’s clear that many believe this new formula is the way to go with 56 out of 61 implementing it within their business. I understand that anything different, creative and new, typically challenges the norm. But being different is good. Difference lets people thrive and the 4-day week is helping to offer your staff a healthy balance of having a successful career as well as a rewarding personal life.
But what does this mean to you; the independent retailer which opens to the public seven days a week or builders’ merchant facing material shortages and soaring energy costs? Well, it means establishing a business model that allows you to recruit for full-time roles, hybrid-remote working and the four-day work week, so that your business can keep pace with the now working population.
If we look at the UK’s changing population and rise of big data leading to businesses across the country becoming accessible anytime-anywhere, then flexible working is already here – and rarely switches off! This is one of the main reasons why 20th century business models following up to seven eight-hour days are no longer sustainable.
By making a few small adjustments like custom shift patterns, compressed hours and new policies like a drop in the number of physical meetings per week, your business will become more agile and support a proof positive work-life balance.
As with so many things in life, we need to embrace change and given the extensive benefits of shorter working hours helping to reduce stress levels and increase productivity, your staff’s mental health and wellbeing need to be considered. In fact, the recent four-day week pilot reports that 71% of participants at the end of the trial had reduced levels of burnout, along with decreased feelings of anxiety and fatigue…enough said!
For every member of your business – including you – work is more than a pay packet, it’s something they dedicate their lives to and so it’s natural that career choice can impact your social life, finances, and personal health. The KBB, merchanting and constructions supplies sector have the amazing opportunity to change the narrative and support our economy by providing work patterns like the four-day week, which support a highly productive work ethic and better quality of life.
Our industry also needs to be aware of the recent changes made to the law in December 2022, where staff now have the right to request flexible working, regardless of their personal status and time with your company. This is why I strongly urge employers to make flexible working the default to let your people work when, and wherever they want; if they have a strong internet connection, laptop and phone, then the magic will happen.”