It has recently been stated by multiple publications that the introduction of a nation-wide switch to a four-day working week could create 500,000 new jobs – something that is sorely needed at this time. This substantial level of job creation remains no more than speculation, but there are certainly other benefits that can be found in the switch to a four-day working week.
Sarah Kauter, Managing Director of the leading PR and marketing agency, VerriBerri, is one of the few employers in the UK to dismiss the traditional Monday-Friday regime in favour of a four-day working week, with slightly longer hours on the days worked; as this ensures the team are still paid a full wage.
Sarah’s team have been enjoying this new way of working for close to two years now and have found multiple benefits in doing so. As Sarah states, “Our team’s entire outlook has improved ever since I implemented the four-day working week. Their creativity, motivation, work-life balance, and mental health has all improved, and this adds a lot to the general atmosphere of the office!”
Poor morale is an issue that plagues many offices and other businesses – now more than ever, considering the devastating events of the past year. A one-off solution is often presented by employers in order to bolster morale, such as drinks after work or some kind of team-building exercise.
“These kinds of suggestions may have a positive effect in the short-term,” says Sarah, “but, ultimately, it would be far more worthwhile to provide opportunities that improve employee well-being in the long-term. The implementation of a four-day working week functions as the perfect solution.”
Sarah goes on to explain the benefits of VerriBerri’s longer opening hours, “Being open from 8-6 has allowed us to really flourish. Both the team, and our clients, have found multiple benefits in being able to utilize this extra time. Whilst there may have initially been some apprehension regarding the extra hour at the beginning and end of each working day, the team agrees that after a week or so it feels no different to a regular 9-5; plus the extra day off each week makes it more than worth it!”
The extra day off each week would, undeniably, be the most enticing aspect of a four-day working week if this regime were to be implemented across the nation. With mental health rightfully receiving more and more recognition in recent years, this extra day represents endless opportunity. As Sarah states, “It doesn’t matter how my team chooses to use their extra day off. Some have a Monday or Friday and get to revel in a long weekend, whilst others have the Wednesday off to enjoy a midweek break. This can be spent with family and friends; utilised as an opportunity to work on a personal project; or simply spent catching up on Netflix. Ultimately, it provides an opportunity for my team to refresh and rejuvenate in any way they see fit, which makes all the difference to their output during working hours.”
Working parents, especially, can find a whole range of unique benefits in the four-day working week. As a parent of three young children, Sarah is able to confidently comment on this aspect of the regime, “The extra day off is godsend when it comes to parenting. I can use my day off to get any time-consuming chores out of the way whilst the girls are at school. Now I have a whole weekend to spend doing whatever I like with the kids, rather than dragging them around the shops or scrubbing down the kitchen whilst they’re sat in front of the telly.”
Going back to the bold claim that a nation-wide implementation of the four-day working week would result in the creation of 500,000 much needed jobs – this remains to be seen. Sarah, however, sees the legitimacy of this claim when viewing it from a long-term perspective, “We were able to grow our business, even through the devastation of the pandemic, and I firmly believe the four-day working week played a big part in this. It makes the team much more productive during working hours which, in turn, makes our clients happier. From this, we’re able to retain clients and gain more work, which results in significant business growth. In this way, at the very least, I can see a nation-wide implementation of the four-day working week creating more jobs.”
Sarah, who is yet to see a single flaw in this regime, encourages all businesses to seriously consider making the same change.