A 4 day working week, will it become a reality?
Several countries have successfully trialled a four-day system in the last six years, and now Scotland is giving it a go. Will it become a reality?
A four-day working week is being tested in the UK – with staff receiving the same pay for eight fewer hours of work.
Pilots are being launched across Scotland following the huge shift in the way Brits work during the Covid pandemic.
It is not known whether England, Wales and Northern Ireland will also test it out, but campaigners are urging the government to try it.
Many have pointed to the “overwhelming success” of the biggest ever four-day workweek trial in Iceland in 2015 to 2019 but the headlines are worth closer scrutiny. Read more via the link.
All that said, workers were found to be less stressed and had a better work-life balance while employers saw no drastic fall in productivity or provision of services, analysis found.
The experiment initially included just a few dozen public sector workers who were members of unions.
But it expanded to 2,500 workers from both the public and private sector – representing one per cent of the country’s workforce – as the trial progressed.
Police Officers, healthcare workers, teachers, shop assistants and council workers were among those taking part in the trials.
IMPACT ON THE ECONOMY
A study which showed introducing a four-day workweek could boost high street sales by up to £58million also helped strengthen their case.
The research found letting people have an extra day over the weekend doesn’t just give people extra time to shop, it could also increase spending on hobbies, gardening and DIY.
THE GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
The response from the UK Government was “There are no plans to get to a four-day working week in the UK.
Employees and employers need to be able to make arrangements which work best in that particular circumstance.
But we are committed to consulting on flexible working.”
The Chairman of the government’s Flexible Working Taskforce, Peter Cheese, believes there is a “generational opportunity” to adapt conventional employment traditions after coronavirus wreaked havoc upon workplaces
He said that flexible working could become the “norm, not an exception” and “can and should be seen as just as much an acceptable way of working as a more standard five-day working week.”
Mr Cheese said the pandemic was a “catalyst” that is “absolutely fuelling” the concept of more balance between employee’s work and home lives.
He thinks the UK should “move away” from the nine-to-five culture and embrace the balance that working from home has brought to Brits.
“There are a variety of mechanisms by which you can support people in these more flexible ways of working, which can be helpful in terms of inclusion and wellbeing and balance of life.
“What we refer to as the standard five-day working week, that’s what will begin to change. And it could emerge in lots of different forms, one of which could be a four-day working week.
“I don’t think we’re at that point,” he continued.
“But, who knows? I think if we can really make some of these things work for us, if we can really make technology enable a better balance of work, and all those other things help us all, then maybe we will see more of those sorts of things being adopted.”
Mr Cheese, the head of industry group the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said any change would come from “emergent practice”
What’s your thoughts?
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