Following the pandemic, the way we see work has changed. During the lockdowns and restrictions, we were forced to switch things up, with meetings taking place remotely and regular working hours being done from home. In the years that have followed, we have seen a shift to more flexible working with hybrid and remote jobs becoming the norm.
As we were forced to stay home and manage to work how we could throughout the pandemic, the workforce’s view of work also changed, with more people valuing a work-life balance over higher pay and other perks. Now we are seeing an influx of companies moving to the four-day workweek. With this new schedule and new ways of working, how can managers and senior-level members manage the four-day workweek?
As more and more companies move to a shorter week, it is likely to become the norm, especially following the success of the recent UK four-day workweek trial. The trail, which saw 60 businesses from all over the UK trail the four-day week in the largest test of its kind, resulted in 90% of the participating companies continuing with this working schedule. The trial, which ran from June to December last year, found that staff were less stressed and their mental and physical health noticeably improved.
Employees were not the only ones to benefit from this change, in fact, companies that took part in the trial actually cited no loss in profits and better company culture. The benefits of good company culture cannot be understated. Businesses that prioritise making their employees happy and ensuring employee engagement outperform their competitors.
For the many benefits of the four-day working week, it doesn’t mean that it is an easy transition. In today’s society, the two-day weekend has become highly normalised and it can be difficult for employees and employers to make the change. As I have made the switch for myself and my business, I can share some steps to ensure a smooth switch to a four-day week.
For years, the business attitude has commonly been ‘work hard, play hard’ as managers and senior-level executives push themselves and employees to work long hours and outside of the required hours. If companies want to reap the rewards of the four-day week, they must lead by example and switch off outside of work.
When making a large change such as this in your workplace, you have to consider the individual. Some people may not suit working the four-day week and this could cause stress and worry among these employees. At Truly, we have allowed people to opt-in to work on a Friday to pick up anything they haven’t been able to finish in the week, or if they would like to earn some extra money in the current climate.
Although I truly believe the four-day workweek will become the norm everywhere, it simply won’t work in every industry. In sectors such as hospitality and retail, it simply may not be possible. However, there are other ways to offer your staff flexibility. Opening up communication with your staff and enabling shift swapping, hybrid work where possible and being adaptable to your employee’s needs is essential.
The modern workforce now values work-life balance above all else. After staying in during lockdown and adapting to a more flexible working life, the next logical step is to have a more balanced workweek. Companies must change to future-proof their business, attract and retain staff and create a better company culture.
Ruth Zawoda-Clea, CEO of Truly Content Ltd.Ruth Zawoda Clea founded Truly Content Ltd. alongside her sister, Alice Zawoda in 2014, combining their expert knowledge of branding and SEO. The business now provides its clients with the best digital marketing strategy possible alongside many other services from content, design, compliance, and more.