A few months ago workplaces in the UK started trialling the idea of a 4 day working week. 5 days a week has been standardised since the 1920’s and has been the case for all working environments since – people have always complained about the weekend not being long enough, but since the pandemic there has been a ripple effect of increasing focus on a good work-life balance (Business News Wales, 2022).
The aim of trialling this new working week was to not only stop people from quitting as there seems to be “The Great Resignation” with more and more people wanting to leave, but also to improve the mental health of their workers. A successful trial in Iceland late last year has triggered the want and need for UK companies to take part.
How is it going?
So, have the trials been successful so far? Well according to Business Insider companies have seen boosts in profit and morale across the board from their employees.
People feel happier, more excited and motivated to work and have a better work-life balance…
However, is this a ‘one size fits all’ benefit? The answer is no, despite 90% of 1000 employees saying they would fully support their employer implementing a four day working week and 83% saying it would make staff more loyal, you are never going to please everyone with a unanimous decision.
There are some disadvantages to the 4 day working week that could cause further stress and mental health conditions, one of these include extra pressure from losing a day at work to meet deadlines and get work done. Another is that employers might make their employee’s work longer hours on the days they are in the office to make up for the extra day off. These kinds of pressures could create a more toxic and unhappy working environment.
There have been studies that show that people would prefer to move to either an outcome-based or an asynchronous way of working – this means that as long as people attend their meetings and get their work done it doesn’t matter what time they start or finish or where they choose to work. This means less clockwatching and micromanagement and more trust in employees, some people work better as early risers and others as night-owls. Rather than trying to fit everyone into the same way of working, we need to shift our focus onto redefining what it means to be at work.
Overall the trial is proving to be a success, but not everyone will be happy and there is no one fix to improving a working environment, there are many ways that could work hand in hand to satisfy every employee and improve mental health.
If your company is looking to improve the mental health of its staff then TriggerHub bibliotherapy is a great form of recovery for your employees (and you). Not only is it completely affordable, but it is instantly accessible and covers every mental health condition there is – including specific books about workplace mental health and how to deal with the stresses at work, or even how to speak up about it in the workplace.
Get in touch today to find out more by emailing [email protected].