If you’ve seen the news over the past couple of days regarding Scotland trialling out a four day working week in the workplace, then it has likely got you thinking. Nicola Sturgeon has followed the lead of other countries, such as Iceland, and stated in her SNP manifesto that Scotland will reduce the number of working days, but without a loss of pay.
Should a country decide to trial this out, there are several options available with regards to this potential initiative:
- Reducing the number of days; reducing the monthly pay-check.
- Reducing the number of days; keeping the pay-check the same.
- Reducing the number of days; increasing the hours on the working days e.g. four days of 10 hours, instead of five days of 8 hours.
- Reducing the number of days, for particular groups only e.g. parents.
No one knows the perfect way in which this can be rolled out; there will always be discrepancies and not everyone will agree… as with most government initiatives. However, is it worth companies taking the plunge and trialling this out themselves?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
What are the benefits?
There are several ways in which this can benefit both the company, and its employees.
- Improving an individual’s sense of wellbeing: “workers reported feeling less stressed and at risk of burnout, and said their health and work-life balance had improved.” (BBC News)
- Improving overall productivity levels
- Ensuring people feel valued and trusted that they can achieve their job specifics in less time
- This would tackle chronic over-working, and long-hour culture, especially within certain industries
What are the negatives?
- Companies will expect their employees to be incredibly well organised with exceptional time-management skills, in order to complete all their tasks in the most efficient way. This could lead to an increase in stress levels.
- Should companies choose particular groups (e.g. parents) to trial this out, especially if there is no change to pay, this will lead to unrest in the workplace and a sense of injustice.
- Not everyone is going to want to squeeze their work tasks into a shorter time frame – it may not be possible for all industries, let alone companies.
Can VR training help?
This might seem like a jump, but VR has been proven to reduce training lengths by up to 4 times. If your company spends a considerable amount of time training every month, VR training could just be the catalyst that helps some of the more resistant companies free up time that would go towards this reduced working week.