Is a four-day work week right for your company? Exploring the trend towards shorter work weeks

The UK’s four-day week trial has been hailed as a "breakthrough moment" for the modern workplace but is the four-day week trend right for your company? The answers lie in your data.

Remote work. WFH. Digital nomadism. Hybrid working. Asynchronous and flexible schedules. RTO. Digital workplaces. Quiet quitting. Quiet hiring.

We haven’t been short of workplace trends over the last few years.

Now heads are being turned once again. And this time around it’s the four-day work week that’s in the limelight.

The four-day week trial

The trend towards a four-day week hit headlines after findings from a six-month trial revealed an overwhelming favourability for this new approach to work.

It has been the biggest trial of its kind, in which 2,900 workers cut their hours from an average of 38 per week to 34 for a six-month period.

Last week, the campaign group 4 Day Week revealed that more than nine out of 10 companies that adopted a four-day working week in the UK will continue to use the more flexible approach.

It’s not hard to see the appeal for employees. This cross-industry study demonstrated the impact that a four-day week working pattern has for health, wellbeing and work-life balance – 39% said they were less stressed, 40% said they were sleeping better, 54% said it was easier to balance work and home responsibilities, while 71% reported lower levels of burnout.

Employees are convinced. But is it really viable for your company?

4 Day Week Campaign Billboard

Should you adopt a four-day working week at your company?

As well as the direct employee benefits, there were a number of positive company-wide takeaways from this latest trial. Companies’ revenue stayed broadly the same, 57% fewer employees left the companies taking part compared with the same period a year earlier, and companies saw a 65% reduction in absenteeism.

However, there has been some criticism in how the trial was conducted therefore making it difficult to say that it is certainly the right move to make. Participants were self-selecting, meaning that the leaders were already somewhat intrigued by the emerging workplace trend, and most of the businesses were relatively small – 66% had just 25 staff or fewer.

So just like any of these workplace trends, the opportunities and challenges they present, and their impact on your company, is totally unique.

Digital workplace analytics must play a part in your decision-making

Digital workplace analytics is a game-changer when it comes to empowering effective decision-making for those navigating emerging workplace trends, including the four-day week.

It empowers leaders to gain a deeper understanding of how work gets done, identify patterns and trends in current working habits, and make more informed data-driven decisions about the future of work that accelerate growth.

Within the context of the four-day week, there are a number of key metrics that conducting a digital workplace analytics project can surface in your company, including working day length, engagement and participation in digital workplace tools, digital absenteeism, and communication patterns including the number of meetings, the length of meetings and proportion of meetings happening outside of working hours.

This ability to understand how work is happening and how it has evolved over the last few years is critical. Because much like being present in an office does not denote productivity, nor does being sat in front of a laptop for five days a week.

Employee are convinced. So what’s the next step?

In order to even consider embarking on this new era of work, it’s essential for company leaders – COO, CEO, Digital Workplace and Future of Work Leaders – to understand the current state of work.

What are the current workplace trends, habits and patterns across the company? How does this vary by tenure, location, department etc.? And what’s the impact of your current workplace setup on collaboration, productivity and the digital employee experience?

Temporall’s digital workplace analytics deliver actionable insights for those navigating emerging workplace trends, including the four-day week, to help you answer these questions and more.

Our platform enables you to connect, analyse and interpret workplace data from Slack, Google Workspace, Microsoft 365 and employee feedback, to empower effective data-driven decisions that actually drive growth.

Contact us to see how our Digital Workplace Analytics platform can help you drive better business outcomes.

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