Wednesday 23 September 2020 4:00 am

The realities of the four-day working week

Sarah Kauter is MD of PR and marketing agency, VerriBerri.

Many publications have recently covered the news of how 500,000 new jobs could be created through a four-day working week. 

While the reality of this extensive job creation remains to be seen, there are certainly those across the nation who can comment on the general effectiveness of a four-day working week. Most UK employers still work under the traditional Monday-Friday regime, but my PR and marketing agency, VerriBerri, operates differently. 

I implemented the four-day working week well over a year ago, and both my team and I couldn’t be happier with the results. This extends to improved motivation, creativity, mental health, work-life balance, and the overall atmosphere in the workplace. 

Many employers will approach the issue of poor morale with a one-off solution in hand. Perhaps some sort of team-building exercise or the suggestion of drinks after work. While this may have some positive effect in the short term, it’s far more beneficial to implement a long-term system that provides continual opportunities for the improvement of employee wellbeing. 

At VerriBerri, we’re confident that there is no better solution than the implementation of the four-day working week. The longer opening hours have allowed us to flourish, while also being of huge benefit to all our clients. Further to this, all of our staff members have expressed how much more productive they feel on their working days now that they have an extra day off to refresh.

No matter how an employee chooses to spend their extra day off, this free day has proven to reflect positively on their work, not to mention their mental health. Our team members get up to a range of different things on their days off. They could be spending essential time with friends and family, working on their passion project or, on some days, just catching up on their favourite show. No matter how they choose to spend their time, it’s never wasted; it leaves them feeling rejuvenated and full of creativity, ready for their next day in the office.

Aside from the multiple personal benefits that can be found in the freedom of a four-day working week — as well as the benefits clients can find in the longer working hours — one of the leading benefits of this regime is harnessed by working parents. As a parent of three young children, I am able to confidently comment on this point. Now that I have an extra day away from work in the week, I’m able get all the mundane, time-consuming chores done while the girls are at school. This leaves me with a blissfully free weekend to share with the kids at my own leisure.

As previously iterated, no one can confidently claim whether a nation-wide switch to a four-day working week would create 500,000 new jobs or not, but I certainly can see the legitimacy of this claim when looking at it from a certain perspective. Again, looking at the long term rather than the short term, it’s possible that the four-day working week could create more jobs. 

But looking at this from the personal experience of growing my business, even through the difficulties presented by the pandemic, the four-day working week makes employees happier and more productive at work, which makes the clients happier; ultimately meaning you get more work, and therefore the company grows. This client retention and business growth would, at least in one long-term way, create more jobs.

Both I, and my entire team, are yet to see a single flaw in the four-day working week, and we strongly advise other businesses to make the same transition. 

Main image credit: Getty

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