Its been all over the media over the past week and I wanted to discuss how implementing a four-day working week could impact businesses from a recruitment perspective.
There are a large amount of job vacancies out there at the moment that are advertised as full time, however the question I would ask is how many of these jobs could be undertaken over four days instead of five?
Henley Business School have recently written a report on this that suggests 2% of a company’s total turnover can be recouped by switching to flexible working patterns as well as saving UK businesses a combined £104 billion annually if they change to a four-day week. They suggest that compressed weeks lead to increased productivity and improved physical and mental wellbeing. Part of the improved productivity could be linked to the reduction in staff sickness: 62% of businesses surveyed who offered a four-day week said sickness absence was reduced.
Many businesses I speak to about this subject have concerns about how to manage their employees four-day week; who suggests which day to have off and how do you deal with your customers who are used to your staff being there every day? A lot of businesses see a four-day week as a reduction in hours, whereas others see it as compressing the same hours into a shorter working week.
82% of businesses within the survey not offering a four-day week believed that making sure employees were always available to the customer outweighed the need for flexible working practices. And 73% said a four-day week would be “too complicated to manage”.
Dr Rita Fontinha, co-author of the report and lecturer in strategic HR management at Henley Business School, said there were conflicting pressures between working flexibly and working less, but the ideal of flexibility “doesn’t necessarily lead to fewer hours”. She said “A lot of overtime isn’t accounted for in many of our jobs because people are increasingly assessed by objectives. With a four-day week, we need to make sure people aren’t working during their time off.”
I feel that if employers make their expectations clear from the outset and set deadlines, while allowing employees to be able to manage their own time, they would deliver the work that was expected of them off their own back.
In my opinion if you are able to offer a four-day week then this would have a positive impact on any recruitment within your business. It can help attract and retain the right talent by demonstrating your “forward thinking” approach to work as well as keeping your recruitment process open to both younger and older talent.
To read the full report by Henley please click here