A four-day working week?

The workplace is one of the most highly impacted areas and subsequent change due to coronavirus. Henry Ford introduced the 40 hour and five day week during the industrial revolution, one that changed the productivity and efficiency of the workplace for good. However, the coronavirus pandemic looks to have changed that.

Over the decades a lot of research has been done to prove just how far the concept can be pushed. Though Henry Ford was on the right track, studies have shown as recently as last year that drastically revolutionising the workplace is beneficial for all.

The research found that reducing the working week from five to four days could save UK businesses an estimated £104bn a year. Adopting a shorter working week could add to the bottom line as well as increase employee’s productivity and mental and physical health.

Those who adopted the concept found that it increased overall quality of life for employees, with more than three quarters, or 78%, of businesses saying staff were happier, 70% less stressed and took 62% fewer sick days.

If this is the case, why aren’t other companies following suit? The current structure is so ingrained in the lives of everyone that overhauling would require bold innovation that many companies aren’t willing to invest in.

However, similar data has shown that this may well be changing, showing how effective remote working can be for wellbeing and productivity, despite the pandemic forcing the issue for many businesses. The surprising outcome was that remote working aiding nearly every aspect of their businesses and many companies have opted to keep it.

A massive 72% of businesses are building on the success of remote working with some considering the proposition of a four day working week. It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that workers agree. A poll of 2000 workers by YouGov found that the majority of workers would support a shorter week believing they could completer their work in four days to the same standard they are in five.

It’s unlikely that a four day working week will become the normal right away but if the adoption of remote working is anything to go by it may not be long.

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