It’s official: working less is not only good for our mental and physical health and wellbeing, it’s also good for business.
That’s according to the executive summary report of the world’s largest four-day working week trial to date, which took place in the UK from June to December 2022 and saw 61 companies and approximately 2,900 workers adopt a four-day week with no change to their pay or productivity.
The trial, which included companies from a range of sectors and sizes, allowed participants to tailor individual policies which ranged from classic “Friday off” models, to staggered working weeks.
These saw some team members taking Mondays off, while others didn’t work on Fridays in order to keep the business operational five days a week. Of the 61 participating companies, 56 are continuing with the four-day week working model, with 18 confirming this will be a permanent change.
Crunching the numbers
Over the course of the trial, company revenue stayed broadly the same, rising by 1.4 per cent on average, however when participants compared revenue to previous years, they reported revenue increases of 35 per cent on average.
Additionally, staff retention improved, and the amount of employees who handed in their notice dropped by a significant 57 per cent during this time period.
For workers, 39 per cent reported feeling less stressed and 71 per cent had reduced levels of burnout. Participants also reported reduced anxiety, fatigue and sleep issues, and an overall increase in mental and physical health.
Part of this can be attributed to a better work-life balance as employees were able to balance their home and work commitments more efficiently—60 per cent found a four-day work week more compatible with care responsibilities.
Taking all of the above into consideration, it’s hard to argue with the concept of a four-day week and at government level, legislative changes to the traditional 40 hour week spread over five days are being considered.
A Ten Minute Rule bill legislating for a four-day week was recently discussed in the House of Commons, while in Wales, the Senedd’s Petitions Committee has backed a public sector trial, and the Scottish Government has directly committed to support pilot schemes.
With research showing that 43 per cent of workers are more productive when working to their own schedule, a flexible approach to working hours is gaining momentum.
If you feel like your current role doesn’t facilitate any kind of flexibility, it could be time to look for a new job in a more progressive company. If that is the case, The London Economic Job Board has hundreds of opportunities in organisations that are currently hiring, like the three below.
Internal Audit Manager, WPP, London
Global communications agency WPP ensures all of its staff can avail of flexible working arrangements including parents and those with caring responsibilities. It estimates that currently 25 per cent of its workforce have flexible working arrangements in place, including part-time working, flexible start and finish times and home working as well as career breaks and sabbaticals. As Internal Audit Manager you’ll play a key role in the internal audit department, planning and delivering multiple audits. You’ll also bring your experience to ensure issues are identified throughout the audit cycle. See the full job description here.
Data Analyst, Zilch UK, London
Despite being in hyper-growth mode, buy now, pay later (BNPL) provider Zilch UK is committed to ensuring its employees have good work-life balance and offers hybrid working, parental leave and access to mental healthcare services among other benefits. It is currently seeking a Data Analyst to join a collaborative team, working alongside data scientists, data engineers and analytics engineers. You’ll be required to support business requirements for model and report building, enhance and optimise existing models and visualisations, assist with ad-hoc development and data dictionary duties and maintain metric definitions across the business. See more details here.
Credit Risk Oversight Manager, Monzo, London
Neobank Monzo has adopted a flexible approach to working hours and not only encourages its employees to avail or remote or hybrid working models, but also get the job done at hours that suit them. As Credit Risk Oversight Manager you’ll join the credit risk team to support your colleagues in borrowing by analysing and monitoring the existing lending products performance, including developing and enhancing performance metrics, supporting new credit product launches and maintaining the credit risk framework to ensure it is up to date with regulations and Monzo’s operating practices. Applicants should have experience of retail credit risk or business lending practises for loans, overdrafts and short-term lending products as well as experience with SQL, Python and reporting tools. Apply for this opportunity here.