A three-day weekend seems like a gigantic `NO’ for some companies and even bigger for many politicians and law-makers. However, the trend has gone viral and is spreading like a wildfire amongst Fridays-off supporters.
How does this even function? Well, there are many viewpoints on flexible labour but it’s actually quite simple...
You redistribute the workload to 4 days rather than 5. productivity remains the same but you work fewer days. Some offices have 3-day weekends others closed on Wednesdays.
The New Zealand company, Perpetual Guardian conducted the famous eight-week experiment. “I work 4 days and get paid for 5”, was the motto of this test where 240 employees retained full pay alongside a three-day weekend.
The owner wanted to explore the idea of the balance between work and personal life. He had a team of researchers from the University of Auckland to supervise the test and deliver the results.
Now, here’s what they discovered: employee engagement improved, stress levels dropped and productivity remained. Before applying the reduction of the workweek, 54% of the employees were satisfied with the relationship between their work and private life, that figure boosted to 78% during the test. As a direct result of the experiment, staff stress levels decreased by 7%. And by reducing stress we get more confident, focused and more importantly, healthier.
The conclusion was clear to New Zealand’s entrepreneur, introduce the 4-day week permanently.
Decrease the stress, increase the well-being that make your workers more engaged and loyal to your business seems like an incredible outcome if one working day is sacrificed. That's the view of a growing number of voices, not only among small businesses.
January this year, the Wellcome Trust became the biggest UK employer to join the trend announcing they were exploring switching head-office staff to a three-day weekend. The UK's trade union body, the TUC also wants businesses to leave the standard workweek. Not everybody thinks that way, though.
On average, a full-time employee in the EU works 40.3 hours per week, however, countries like the UK or Spain have the longest working hours but they are also one of the least productive countries as against to Denmark with shortest working week and the second-highest productivity in 2018.
Spanish politicians argue that reducing working hours will lead to increase costs of hiring new employees to fill the gaps. Some companies cannot really imagine shortening their working hours due to strong competition in spite of plenty of evidence on the benefits of a four-day workweek. They worry about not being adequately available to their clients, especially in the area of customer service.
The switch will take its time and in the meantime, we can always implement those little changes to improve our physical and mental well-being by creating a more comfortable and less stressful work environment.
Deskmates aim is to contribute to a less stressful, more fun working environment through fun, efficient and affordable standing desks.
Are you in?