Would a four-day working week really boost productivity?

With the majority of businesses in the four-day week trial making it permanent, what can you do to boost wellbeing and productivity if you’re not ready to make the jump?

There are various reasons why companies are choosing to take part in a four-day week trial. These include the possibility of improved employee wellbeing, improved productivity and easier recruitment and staff retention as a result.

In the world’s biggest four-day working week trial, 51 per cent of participating firms have opted to make the change permanent, while 89 per cent are still operating the policy a year on.

Key to success, according to the report authors, was companies communicating their four-day week clearly with a set day off, such as a Friday. Companies which had an ‘on-call’ system where a day off would be announced at late notice, had less success.

Author of How to be Really Productive Grace Marshall and productivity expert at Think Productive said: “We’ve found that a four-day work week increases momentum and motivation in the office, as well as giving employees more time to enjoy life outside of the workplace.

“It is our ability to think well that increases the quality and value of our work, not how many hours we show up at the office. In fact, working longer hours can diminish our productivity as well as our wellbeing.”

There will be companies where a four-day week will be more beneficial than others. Companies that utilise AI, for example, can make up for any lost admin time by streamlining their operations easier than companies which don’t. One report found that 29 per cent of US companies practising a four-day week use AI extensively in their operations.

The switch to a four-day working week may be a step too far for your business right now, but here are three tips you can use now to try boosting productivity and wellbeing in the office:

#1 – Meeting free Monday

If employees have back-to-back meetings all day every day, when is the work that comes out of these meetings or the preparation that goes into them going to be done? Try having a set day in the week when no-one can book meetings into diaries and hold those boundaries firm.

#2 – Champagne moments

We all know that morale helps to boost productivity and remind you what you are working towards. Whether it’s an email folder or board in the office keep a copy of nice things people have said, a client testimonial, a thank you or success stories.

#3 – Let employees choose where they want to work

All employees work differently, and some are more productive depending on whether they’re at the office or working from home. Fellowes UK sales and marketing director Darryl Brunt says, “It’s clear that our workplace has a huge effect on our productivity and a report of ours shows a real need for businesses to take heed. Making small changes to employee’s workstation comfort can reap rewards for their wellbeing and their working life.

“Employees who feel more productive working from home shouldn’t be forgotten either, everyone should be given access to the right products to ensure they can work well.”

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Dom Walbanke

Dom Walbanke

Dom is a feature writer for Growth Business and Small Business, focused on matters concerning start-ups and scale-ups. He has also been published in the Independent, FourFourTwo magazine and various lifestyle...

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