A four-day working week could literally save the environment.
By now it seems like no matter what research emerges to show that four-day working weeks make employees healthier, happier and more productive, companies just can’t budge from the traditional five days of drudgery.
Well maybe the latest investigation into the benefits of a Monday – Thursday grind might make them change their minds. According to a white paper produced by Henley Business School, a four-day-working week could save UK businesses £104 billion a year. If anything is going to swing the pendulum of employer opinion in favour of the change, it’s the potential to cost cut.
Of course, the paper – which was produced by consulting workers and businesses, including 250 companies who operate under the four-day system – confirmed a few other claims as well. As well as backing up the findings of four-day weeks boosting efficiency, over 70% of staff at businesses that had implemented the working style said their wellbeing had skyrocketed and stress levels had decreased. A further 62% reported taking fewer sick days as well.
Plus, there’s a sustainable angle too: a four-day working week could literally help save the planet as employees estimate they would travel 557.8 million fewer miles. And instead of taking long weekends, 40% of staff say they’d use their extra day to develop a new professional skill, while a quarter wanted to give back and said they would volunteer for a charitable cause.
So what’s preventing companies from all adopting a policy that’s been proven to increase profits, create higher job satisfaction, attract young talent and literally be good for the environment?
Erm, apparently nothing more than fear. 82% of employers say their main concern is employee availability because of course, under late-capitalism all staff must be on call 24 hours a day. Unsurprisingly, a majority of workers said they would plump for a four-day week if given the choice. Do the right thing bosses of Britain. Then we can start chatting about the Scandi six-hour day model.