Over 70 businesses in the UK are now more than halfway through a trial looking at the effects of reducing staff working hours without a corresponding reduction in pay.
Our previous blog: Is less more? What does a 4-day week mean for employers? considered some of the legal issues to think about before implementing a trial or full scheme. Here we’re looking at some of the provisional results. And whilst the current economic downturn may well affect this, it’s hoped that the results will be useful in the long term.
Durham based, digital only lender, Atom bank – which has nearly 500 employees, has already decided to make its four-day week permanent. It said it had seen improvements in productivity, staff engagement, customer goodwill and its ability to attract staff.
Under the current trial, which is being run in several countries, employees get 100% of their pay for working 80% of their contracted hours.
The organisations taking part in the UK were asked to report on their experiences during the first half of the trial, which is set to run until the end of the year.
As reported by the BBC, out of 73 employers, 41 responded to the half-time survey. Here are some of the findings:
- The overwhelming response is positive, with 85% of companies saying they intend to stick with the trial until the end.
- 95% of companies say productivity has stayed the same or improved.
- Employees are benefiting from lower commuting and childcare costs. It’s estimated that a parent with two children would save £3,232.40 on average a year or roughly £269 a month.
- Participants report improvements in staff wellbeing and morale. Others note that the trial has resulted in “smarter” working, with unnecessary meetings and other functions being cut out. One participant reports a high interest in the scheme from their own clients.
While some have faced difficulties implementing the shorter week, many say that by putting in place appropriate structures and tweaking where necessary things have settled down.
How can we help?
Are you interested in trialling a 4-day week, or other alternative working patterns? Get in touch if you want to talk through how this might work for your business and how we can help. Also, check out our HR Legal service for more information on how we can help with implementing changes (both temporary and permanent).