A PR company in the UK is one of a handful of companies leading the way and offering its employees a 4 day working week, but still paying for 5 days. Radioactive PR’s 4 day week began as a 6 week trial but when they saw that not only was the same work getting done but there was also signs of growth, they decided to adopt the shorter working week permanently. According to Rich Leigh, MD of the firm ‘there are two ways to make money in my line of work, retain clients and get new ones and tired, miserable staff can’t do either’.
They key to success here is happy employees. In a world where we hear endless stories of burnout, anxiety, work related stress, exhaustion and a general lack of time, could this be the answer to a more balanced and more productive workplace? Imagine a 3 day weekend, every weekend. A day a week to get all your ‘stuff’ done. Then when you are at work, efficiencies increase making up for loss of working hours. Scientific evidence concludes that shorter working hours makes us more productive.
Rather than fear the impact of technology and AI developments on the labour market, we can embrace it and use these developments to enhance work life balance. The great economist JM Keynes predicted that we would all be working a 15 hour week by 2030, thanks to technology but the opposite is the case as people are connected to work via technology for more hours than ever.
Offering employees reduced hours is a real opportunity for employers to be thought and market leaders in their search for talent in an ever tightening labour market. Free muffins and a lunchtime pilates class are great but as a fully fledged, educated, independent adult I’d be much happier with a bit of time to sort my own treats and exercise!