According to the results of a study into trials of a four-day week in the UK, USA, Canada and Ireland productivity was not affected by the reduction in working hours.
“Participants reported a better work-life balance and improved mental and physical health. Kickstarter, one of the companies involved in the trial, saw staff retention rise from 70% to over 90%”.
The World Economic Forum has also reported results from a similar trial and found that in the UK 49% of businesses reported a smooth transition to a four-day week and 29% said it was extremely smooth.
It also found that productivity improved significantly for 15% and improved slightly for 34%.
Of those that had tried it 86% said they were likely or extremely likely to implement the system.
The BBC reported that the numbers were even higher according to results of the UK’s four-day week trial with 92% of employers saying they would continue with the four-day week.
However, it does not work for all businesses, the BBC report continued.
A small proportion of businesses, particularly those in customer-facing enterprises, found that “creating enough slack in the schedule for a four-day week means extra hiring costs – making it prohibitive to move forward with a new model”.
And what about this finding from a survey of 500 SMEs by business insurer Superscript which found that 33% of SME bosses feel that there are not enough minutes in the day to get everything done?
It is all very well to advise people to “work smarter not harder” but that is a tall order for many SME owners.
Clearly the four-day week may work well for some but not for others.
What do you think?