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Entrepreneur

Growing number of companies opt for four-day week as Brits want better work-life balance


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A woman walks through vertical lines architecture of an office entrance in the City of London

After Atom Bank said it planned to introduce a four-day working week, at the end of last year, a growing number of companies are looking to introduce the so-called ‘4-3 model’.

Panasonic and Bolt have become the latest employers to shave off one day a week.

They are following the trend that more and more Brits are actively looking for a four-day work week or have already agreed to one with their current employer.

Demand for a four-day work week is being driven by the under 45s, with many prepared to quit to find a role that offers it, according to fresh data from Censuswide, on behalf of ClickUp.

The data shows this most strongly among 35-44 year olds, with almost a fifth of them preparing to quit their job next year to find a new role that offers it, while another 16 per cent plan to ask their current employer for a four-day work week in 2022. 

This attitude is shared by younger workers with 18 per cent of 25-34 year olds, and 15.3 per cent of 16-24 year olds, also prepared to quit their job to find one offering a four-day work week.

Zeb Evans, CEO at ClickUp, told City A.M. today that a “rising numbers of people demand a four-day week. It won’t be right for all people or all businesses, but those wanting to explore the idea can start by looking at their productivity.”

ClickUp’s findings are supported by Atom Bank’s experiences.

The introduction of its four-day working week has led to a 500 per cent surge in job applications and boosted staff morale.

The UK’s first app-based bank saw the jump in people applying for job vacancies in one week, shortly after it announced all employees could work 34 hours over four days instead of the usual 37.5 hours over five days – with no pay cut.

Mark Mullen, chief executive of the digital lender, said that while it was “too early to declare victory”, results of the trial so far have been encouraging.

Productivity and satisfaction

The data comes on the back of commerce protection provider Signifyd, which announced today that it will “advance the future of work,” as the company put it, by permanently shifting its operation to a four-day workweek after months of trials that proved beneficial to productivity and employee satisfaction.

The four-day workweek will provide Signifyd’s predominantly remote workforce with the flexibility to perform a work/life rebalance and the opportunity to better care for themselves, and their friends and families, the company’s vice president of people operations, Emily Mikailli, explained.

“When employees are literally working in the same place where they’re supposed to play and relax, burnout just becomes a very real possibility.”

Emily Mikailli

While company leaders had long discussed the move, the unique pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic played a key role in focusing attention on the change,” she said.

“Data demonstrates that four-day workweeks have proven to help with that. Our business is based on the power of data.”

“It wouldn’t make much sense to ignore the data in this case, especially when it concerns an issue that is vital to our employees’ well-being,” Mikailli continued.

Nature of work shifting

The nature of work and the workplace have shifted dramatically in the two years of the pandemic.

In many companies, working from home is no longer the exception. It’s often the rule. Hybrid work arrangements are commonplace.

The next wave of change is likely to be dominated by shifts that make those arrangements more pleasant, productive and gratifying for employees, said Signifyd CEO Raj Ramanand.

“I believe in the not-so-distant future, the four-day workweek will be table stakes for companies looking to hire the most capable, creative and committed candidates in the market,” he added.

Signifyd CEO Raj Ramanand.

The keys to a successful four-day workweek program are communication and flexibility, Mikailli added.

“A policy that means employees aren’t expected to work on a given day does not mean employees cannot work on a given day. Some might see the day as a chance to focus more deeply on a work-related project — without the interruption of meetings,” she said.

Some might use a few hours to catch up on work-related tasks that they’d otherwise find themselves catching up on, on a Saturday or Sunday.

“The end goal is to alleviate stress and help people be more efficient, and that may look different across employees,” Mikailli concluded.



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