4 Day Weeks All Round

There has been much discussion around the potential benefits of businesses adopting a 4 day week for all staff with a view to improving the work experience (and so boosting recruitment, productivity and retention, so the thinking goes). Many organisations say that they have achieved this, having overcome the initial headaches such as working out sustainable work patterns, holiday calculations, client coverage and other sticky issues, and are seeing tangible benefits. People are working harder in the fewer hours that they are working and are happier for it according to some employers. 

Interestingly, the Labour Party recently commissioned a report into the viability of a 4 day week across the nation under which employees would receive the same pay but work less hours. The report has in fact concluded that this would not prove workable as any caps would need to be adapted for different sectors and industries where requirements and circumstances vary markedly. 

Some commentators have remarked that an imposed 4 day week would in fact force down wages and stifle opportunities for people who may wish to work longer hours. It has been noted that there could also be issues for the wider economy if Britain does not look like an attractive place to do business. 

Overall, it would seem that there is a place for the adoption of the popular concept of the 4 day week, but it needs to be carefully planned, tailored and implemented within the context of organisations where the culture and structure of the work in question permits this. One size is unlikely to fit all businesses.

People should work fewer hours to earn a living, but capping their hours would be unrealistic, a report commissioned by the Labour Party has claimed. The report, by cross-bench peer Robert Skidelsky, said working less without loss of pay was "good for material and spiritual well-being". But it said imposing a four-day week - a policy Labour is considering - would not be "realistic or even desirable".