Wednesday 21st Apr 2021
We’ve learnt many lessons throughout the pandemic – from how to ensure we stay productive while working remotely, to adopting new technology and prioritising our wellbeing.
The challenging climate has created an opportunity for many organisations to provide more flexible ways of working for employees. For some, that’s meant moving away from the traditional 9-5, or downsizing operations and subsequently reducing costs as teams continue to work from home.
What the crisis has also ignited is the debate around a permanent switch to a four-day week. Would this be a good move for our industry? And how will fewer days result in more productivity? We delve into this a little more…
The shift to a four-day week is nothing new. In fact, it was part of the Labour party’s manifesto back in 2019 and had been discussed well before then. The interesting thing is that it’s not necessarily been met with a rapturous response from some corners of the globe. For example, the Confederation of British Industry recently inferred that such a move may lead to less flexibility.
But why are the UK’s European counterparts – such as Germany, Sweden, and most recently Spain – experimenting with this way of working? What’s in it for them?
A four-day working week is being used for wellbeing, volunteering and family time
Employees can typically work from anywhere now – thanks to the advent of advanced technologies – but does that mean a four-day week is right for all workforces?
From a finance point of view, it’s helped organisations strip back costs as they continue in their post-pandemic recovery. And for employees, they’ve been able to spend extra moments doing the things they love.
There is an argument that fewer working days will help alleviate stress and improve wellness. However, many employers are still concerned that customers will be overlooked when they’re ‘out of the office’.
With compressed hours, some brands are rolling out a 28 hour-week (seven hours a day) so individuals can have a three-day weekend. However, is there an added pressure to complete all your work in a shorter amount of time?
In addition, there’s a question over holiday entitlement. For organisations exploring a four-day week, they’d have to look into this more. Typically, employees get 28 days annual leave per year, however, with a four-day week that could be reduced to 22 days, possibly resulting in a disgruntled team.
A different employment model comes down to the culture of a business
Workforces must collaborate strategically and communicate effectively to ensure their productivity and customer engagement isn’t hindered. This could be achieved via staggered or flexible shift patterns, savvy technology, and agile employees.
What the finance industry leaders should be focused on is how they can provide flexibility for their staff so that they’re motivated, supported, and trusted to do the best possible job. For many brokers and finance firms, this may mean saying goodbye to the traditional 9-5 or introducing a four-day working week – if that’s you, let us know!