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The four-day workweek: will you be embracing it?

The four-day workweek is a hot topic right now, albeit a relatively new one. But what is all the hype and why are so many employers keen to adopt this new working pattern?

Over the past six months, businesses from all different sectors have taken part in the world's largest four-day week work trial and as the eagerly anticipated results of the trial surfaced last week, many businesses and employers alike waited with bated breath.

The world’s largest four-day week work trial

Of the 61 companies who took part in the trial, 92% extended the trial, and a surprising 30% have made this arrangement a permanent change. The outcome of the post-trial survey boasts some pretty impressive results too, not only did 54% of employees find managing home and work responsibilities much easier - but 39% of employees said they were less stressed; with sick days falling by nearly two-thirds.

So what does all of this mean for the future of the traditional five-day working week, especially for HR when it comes to the people management and logistical elements of this major shift in the way we work? 

Throughout this post, we take a look at the pros and cons of the four-day working week and how to use HR software to manage it successfully.

What are the benefits of a four-day working week?


Improved health and wellbeing

A staggering 67% of employees experienced moderate to high levels of stress in 2022 in a report published by Champion Health. 

Since the pandemic employees have been seeking the perfect equilibrium when it comes to work and home life, both of which have a substantial impact on health. 

With more of a focus on mental health and wellbeing than ever before, this new way of working can provide the much-wanted balance employees are in pursuit of. They’ll have more time to rest and less chance of burnout.

Better employee engagement

There’s no denying that a four-day workweek could result in happier and more engaged employees. With team members able to focus on their passions outside of work and having ample time to do so, sick days will likely be few and far between.

This will lead to greater loyalty, and increasing commitment to the success of the businesses overall.

Lower carbon footprint

We all want to do our bit for the environment and it seems this shift to fewer working days can help towards achieving that. According to Mobilityways, commuting accounts for 18 billion kg of CO​2e – 25 percent of transport emissions and five percent of total emissions in the UK. 

Shortening the working week means that employees no longer need to spend as much time commuting to and from offices and places of work. This will have a positive impact on our environment resulting in a global reduction in carbon emissions. 

Better focus and productivity

Let’s face it, even though employees are paid for a set amount of hours a day, it’s highly unlikely that they are productive the entire time. 

With employees able to spend more of their time outside of work focusing on life admin or time with loved ones, they will be significantly more motivated to complete tasks within their new working week.

As the aphorism goes; work smarter, not harder! 

In conclusion, this brings about increased levels of productivity and deep work.  It’s a win-win for both employers and employees.

What are the disadvantages of a four-day working week?


Working longer hours

Employees may be forced to or feel pressured to work extended hours. Especially if they are paid on an hourly basis. 

On the flip side to this, be prepared to have part-time workers request the same levels of flexibility and pay entitlement as their full-time counterparts. 

After all, if they’re being paid a full-time salary to work four days a week, why shouldn’t an employee working part-time expect to be paid for 3 days a week, but work over 2 days a week instead? 

Changes to holiday entitlement

As with any change in contractual hours, holiday entitlement may need to be recalculated based on whether you not you chose to keep your employees on a 37.5 to 40-hour working week. 

This could bring about additional work for HR when it comes to reissuing contracts, for the simple reason that a “one-size fits all” approach, doesn’t necessarily fit all.

It could lead to more stress

A four-day working week and compressed hours are not the same thing. Employers need to be mindful of this when looking to adopt this new working week. 

Having your employees work the same amount of hours crammed into four days will be a recipe for disaster and subsequently burnout and lower levels of productivity further down the road. 

To ensure success, the shorter working week should consist of four standard working days.

How to manage the four-day working week with HR software

A survey conducted by Reed shows that an astounding 80% of employees would favour a four-day working week in the UK and this statistic is no surprise. 

What this clearly demonstrates is the potential draw it has for job seekers when considering which companies they want to work for. Adopting this new-age way of working could be a valuable selling point for your business when it comes to winning the war on recruiting and retaining top talent.

Managing new ways of working is usually problematic, and it seems it wasn’t that long ago HR teams were learning how to manage the hybrid workplace and its unique set of challenges and could now soon be searching for solutions to help successfully manage the four-day working week.

Flexibility is the name of the game and it’s undoubtedly clear that without the proper HR software and productivity tools to manage this change, many businesses will set themselves up for failure. Here are just a few ways in which Appogee HRs leading HR solutions can help. 

Keep track of your employees' hybrid working location.

It’s likely that they’ll be even more movement between the office and home with this new way of working. 

Keep track of your employees' hybrid working location with the location calendar, to easily see whether your employees are working from home or the office in one simple view, for both individuals or teams.

Stay on top of employee sickness and absence

With employees working four days a week and having non-set days off, it may become increasingly difficult to manage annual leave and sickness. 

Our online absence software - Appogee Leave, makes it clear which employees are taking their full leave quotas and can help you quickly identify patterns of recurring absence. 

Provide comprehensive and clear employee performance management

Keep employees motivated no matter how many days a week they week, using Appogee HR Success

Our performance management software offers 360 feedback, manager and employee self-assessment, reviews against objectives and key results (OKRs), and plenty of flexible review templates. 

Effectively track employee and project time

Monitor the effects of your company's four-day week on an ongoing basis. 

Using Appogee Time Tracker, you can effectively track time against employees, projects, and customers, to ensure that your new working week isn’t leading to any surprising drop-offs in productivity. 

Make use of the clock in, clock out functionality, project planning and budgeting, reporting, and more.

Managing company documents

You may find it beneficial to update your company policies and documents. This could include new working hours and rules around days off. 

Reduce any misuse of benefits relating to your four-day working week and assign checklists and request acknowledgments so you know when a policy has been read.

Ready to explore game-changing HR software for your business?

Our friendly experts can guide you through our leading HR solutions to find the best fit for your business through a tailored demonstration at a time convenient to you.

Alternatively, why not try Appogee HR for yourself free for 14 days, you won’t be disappointed.

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