As a new pilot scheme gets underway this week that sees staff at 30 firms across the UK trial a four-day working week[i]. Mark Wilson, CEO at Wilson Fletcher, a company that has offered a four-day week for its employees for the last three years, firmly believes it makes teams more productive and refreshed, and is something businesses should embrace.
The new pilot scheme led by 4 Day Week Global[ii], sees workers completing the usual amount of work, and up to 35 hours each week, but split over four days rather than five. The concept is being heralded by the organisers as a “bold new future of work”.
Wilson Fletcher, a UK business innovation consultancy, adopted a four-day week, with no reduction in pay or extension of daily hours, three years ago. The whole team has each Friday as a personal day that can be used for anything — from catching up on some reading or learning something new to spending time with the kids, sleeping or enjoying a relaxing three-day weekend.
Wilson says, “The rule is simple: do whatever you need each week to make your four working days better. The experience has been overwhelmingly positive for us: we produce better work, we have improved our team’s wellbeing and the working culture and, most reassuring of all, we have increased overall productivity.
“Our clients have really noticed the difference: when we introduced it, what started as a little envy of the extra headspace we get became a growing recognition of the many tangible, positive impacts it delivers — leading many of them to consider it seriously in their own organisations for the first time.”
Trails of a four-day week in Iceland between 2015 and 2019 were an “overwhelming success” with productivity remaining the same or improved in most workplaces[iii]. As a result, now 86% of Iceland’s workforce have either moved to shorter hours for the same pay or will gain the right to. Benefits have included workers feeling less stressed and at risk of burnout, and improvements in health and work-life balance[iv].
Wilson adds, “The opportunity of the four-day week is real: qualitative and quantitative benefits for both company and employees. The barriers are all logistical and can be overcome. Based on our experience, any leader who is not actively considering implementing a four-day week could be missing a crucial competitive advantage.”
For more information on Wilson Fletcher visit: www.wilsonfletcher.com