Mon 26 / 07 / 21
How could my business benefit from a 4-day working week?
By Hannah Jackson of Brighton Chamber
In a 4-day week, full-time employees reduce their working hours to 4 days, while keeping their full-time salary. Remarkably, many studies have found that this leads to increased productivity in the workplace. As a result, a 4-day week is now being adopted by businesses around the world to improve productivity, enhance employee wellbeing, and even reduce carbon footprints. Locally, MRL recruitment in Hove trialed a 4-day week in 2019, and found it had so many benefits they’ve now made their 4-day week permanent.
The University of Sussex is launching a new research project to help more businesses trial the 4-day week - and they’re looking for local businesses who are interested in participating.
The study will investigate why a 4-day week can be so effective in improving workplace function, whilst also benefitting wellbeing. We had a catch up with Dr Charlotte Rae, the psychologist and neuroscientist leading the study at Sussex University, to find out more.
What are the benefits of businesses changing to a 4-day week?
“We know a 4-day week can have huge potential benefits, for both the employer, in improved productivity, and for the worker, in better wellbeing. There are also big benefits for the employer in reduced presenteeism and absenteeism, and better recruitment and retention.
But we still don’t know exactly why we see these improvements in workplace function, despite employees having less time to do their jobs! We think it might be due to what is happening for employees psychologically – in mind, brain and body.”
How are you planning to measure changes in the workplace and employee mindset?
“So in our new research project, we are going to study employees switching to a 4-day week, and take blood tests, and scan their brains with MRI, as well as measuring what changes in the workplace. This will reveal exactly what’s going on biologically when employees switch to a 4-day week, and give us this crucial new knowledge on why a 4 day week can be so effective.”
How can a 4-day week work for different sectors?
“Many businesses switching to a 4-day week are from the knowledge economy sector, where we see increases in productivity from workers being more engaged at work. But there are other sectors where a 4-day week can have different, but equally important, benefits - such as healthcare and hospitality, where businesses can really struggle with recruitment and retention. In these sectors, a 4-day week can help turn a higher profit, because staff turnover is lower, and recruitment costs and time spent hiring are reduced.
The new Sussex project welcomes any business interested in trialling a 4-day week, and we'll help support organisations in working out how to best implement a 4-day week for them.”
So, how can businesses get involved?
“The University of Sussex team are looking for local businesses who are interested in conducting a short (12-week) trial of the 4-day week, while being supported by academics, to see if it is right for them. The team are currently applying for grant funding to conduct the research project, and are very keen to hear from any potential organisations who might like to take part.”
Where can I find more information?
Brighton Chamber's next Big Debate: A four-day week would be good for Brighton (in-person) on 16 November will bring together a panel of experts to facilitate an open discussion about the impact of a four-day week. Get your free ticket here.
The4 Day Week Global website also has lots of useful resources on how businesses around the world have benefitted from a 4-day week. You can download the report written by MRL Consulting on their experiences implementing a 4-day week here.
With the 4-day week becoming increasingly popular in the media and amongst business communities. Keep an eye out on the Brighton Chamber events calendar, and mailing list, for upcoming events looking at the 4-day week and how it can benefit your business.
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