With the long Easter weekend coming up, we have two 4 day working weeks to enjoy. In May, we will have two more, given the bank holidays.
Whilst many of us delight in sporadic and occasional long weekends, some are calling for the working week to be shortened on a more permanent and regular basis. Apparently the Green Party might include a commitment to a 3 day weekend in its 2020 manifesto and there have already been trials in some countries to work less hours (for example, in Sweden some care workers reduced their working time from 8 hours a day to 6 hour for a two year period, whilst remaining on the same level of pay).
Why would employers contemplate this reduction? Well, because there are said to be many possible employment benefits, such as reduced levels of sickness absence, higher rates of productivity and improved employee wellbeing.
It might sound radical but many employers who now have established agile working practices would not have contemplated employees working flexible hours or from home a few years ago. So, it remains to be seen whether a 4 day working week will become the norm in future. Until then, enjoy this long weekend!
Employers would benefit too from having a healthier, less stressed workforce – for starters, sickness, stress and attrition levels would fall. There is plenty of evidence that, as Lucas said, indicates that the UK’s long hours culture harms, rather than aids, productivity.