The four day work week, it has been appearing a lot in the media recently, people have strong opinions for and strong opinions against reducing the work week down to four sevenths.
How can the four day work week be effective in the creative and digital space?
On the surface it seems a pipe dream employees made up just so they don't have to work as much. Delve a little deeper and you will see it doesn't seem so farfetched at all...
The four day work week comes in many different forms. It is not necessarily just losing an entire day off the work week. Many businesses operate seven days a week. At Artisan we conducted our quarterly Creative Industry Sentiment Survey which is specifically for the creative and digital industry to paint a picture of market conditions, attitudes and emerging trends. Our results showed us that majority of creative businesses are adopting flexible working practices - take a look at our flexible working results here.
Part of the survey focussed on the current capacity businesses have been working at and industry indicated that it is currently working at 77%. This is already 23% down what it should be, one major benefit that has arisen from the trial 4 day weeks is an increase in productivity whilst maintaining capacity.
Take a look at the benefits, pitfalls and current applications of a four day work week.
We can all agree a three day weekend leaves employees with more free time, we all know how it feels over a long weekend. Having more time to do more things such as hobbies, exercising or spending time with close ones will increase overall happiness and can help increase loyalty and a positive attitude towards a company.
Fewer Health Issues
1 in 6 of use experience mental heath problems in any given week, according to charity Mind. Increasing a weekend allows employees to do the things they love which will naturally lead to an improvement in wellbeing. It can also allow employees to have extra time to fit in more sleep. Which is something none of us pay enough attention to.
Increase in Productivity
Staff that are being over worked or are stressed or are tired tend to distract co-workers, the theory being a shorter week is that a fulfilled employee, a happier staff member is more focused on their job when they are actually in the workplace and makes work feel less of a burden, more a balance in their lives.
A business in New Zealand trialled a four day week - see the trial here - The results showed us that 78% of employees could more effectively balance their work and home life. This was a clear improvement on the 54% before the experiment.
Recruitment and Retention
Being able to offer that flexible work pattern and give staff autonomy is a perk that can persuade employees to remain loyal, enjoy and stay at a company.
The prospect of a three-day weekend is one that can keep employees motivated week on week to do the best work they can do. It can be extremely enticing to the best talent in the country.
More efficient usage of time and innovation developments
Employees will be forced to use their time wisely and remain focussed. They will spend less time on inefficient tasks like meetings and are less likely to "run out the clock" which we are all guilty of. Having to be more efficient also means that as a business the workforce needs to develop innovative ways to be more productive in the time they have.
Doesn't suit every business model
We have to be honest a four day work week does not suit every business. Its an option that is only viable for companies who can re-adapt the whole business to a new way of working. Adopting a different way of working is a big step so every consideration needs to be taken into account.
Longer hours and work related stress
Being realistic, most employees will be expected to and will probably want to maintain the 40 hour week. This will need to be condensed into fours days instead of five, making 10 hour days. This could have an effect on stress levels. However if efficiency and productivity is increasing this can be overcome over time.
The risk is expensive
The biggest, most obvious pitfall is the costly risk if workers fail to meet their work requirements. If productivity and efficiency does not increase, you are effectively reducing it by 20%.
At Artisan we work with all types of business models, therefore we are not advocates for or against the four day work week. Our candidates are flexible, whether permanent, freelance or contract they can fit into what ever business model you work to. If you are adopting a four day week or even a flexible working policy we have the best talent ready to fit into that process. If you are in need of talent email us here or call (03) 9514 1000.