Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Comment: 4 day working week

Following the announcement of a new UK trial of four day working weeks, Jamie Mackenzie, Director at Sodexo Engage, comments:

“The idea of a four-day working week is not new, but by no means is any less polarising. Putting it to the test in the UK is an overdue move which could bring forward another burst in the evolution of work.

“The five-day working week was cemented centuries ago, but at a time when many workers had partners at home to handle cooking, cleaning, and childcare. The world has changed a lot since then, and even if one doesn’t have children to fill up their hours, our understanding of wellbeing, especially mental health, and productivity has grown in leaps and bounds since the days of physically clocking in and out. Despite our understanding that time off work is just as important as time in work, workers are exhausted. Research has found that 52% of employees reported that work regularly ate into their personal life, while 35% said they did not believe a healthy work-life balance was possible in their current role.

“With a cut down in working time, we’d not only have more time to decompress and hopefully tackle employee burnout in a sustainable way, but we’d be forced to reassess how to best use our time working. It’s rare for an employee to use the 40 plus hours a week they currently work in a continuously effective and productive manner. A pivot to four days a week could spell the end of meetings for meetings sake and help push more effective methods to get the job done.”

For background, Sodexo Engage is a leading employee engagement and benefits specialist and has worked with the likes of the National Grid and O2.