Will The 4-Day Working Week Be Catastrophic?

Labour have announced, in their latest set of promises, a plan that looks set to shape the way that every business in the UK operates.

Labour made clear that they plan to make the 4-day working week the norm within the next 10 years.

This, of course, has sparked a massive debate!

The 4-day working week is not a new idea, and there are lots of unhappy business owners. However, there are some reasons for business owners to be interested by this.

The concerns are obviously clear, but in this blog we wanted to explore this idea of the 4-day working week, and give business owners like yourself both sides of the arguments for and against.


Why Are Labour Suggesting The 4-Day Working Week?

The reason why Labour plant to implement the 4-day working week has to do with comparisons across Europe.

The big problem seems to be the fact that Britons, on average, are working some of the longest hours in Europe. 

Not only that, but Britons are also some of the least productive workers too! Which doubles the problem!

It’s reported that the average worker does about 3 hours of productive work in an 8 hour day.


How Do We Fix These Problems?

We don’t have the answers! But this is where the debate begins: 

If Britons are working some of the longest hours, it’s double bad news that they are also one of the least productive nations. 

Studies and polls suggest that working less hours would make Britons happier, which in turn, would make them more productive at work.

In theory if bosses were to adopt a 4-day working week, based on the figures above, the same amount of work would be completed, but employee happiness would be improved and therefore boost productivity.

Those businesses who have already made the transition attest to these findings. Workers seem to be more focused and more determined to get the job done with this working pattern.

Employees spend more time with family and friends, whilst having more time doing their favourite activities and hobbies and it makes them more effective in the workplace than before.

This is where Labour seem to find their solution. The main way to increase productivity, is to keep Britons from ‘working’ hours, that they aren’t really working.


The Clear and Obvious Problems

However, many small businesses can see clear and obvious problems with this solution. Owners are not prepared to take this ‘leap of faith’ and abandon the 5 day working week (or more!). 

The financial side of things is the main point of concern. Labour have promised to keep wages the same, despite workers having a 4-day working week.

Businesses who are most critical are the ones who provide round the clock support for their customers. 

Being forced into a 4 day working week, would mean hiring more people to cover these gaps and be costly to this type of business.

Others on the high street, believe the same.

The only other option to hiring more staff, would be to close their doors for a day. However, that day might end up being one in which their customers are enjoying their ‘extra day off’ and want to visit their business.

The ‘catch all nature’ of the 4-day working week doesn’t seem to take into consideration the way different types of businesses are set up. The only real option is to hire more workers, which will come at a big business expense.


Start Working This Out Now

It is worth keeping an eye on how Labour seeks to subsidise businesses in this way. 

Perhaps they will suggest tax reliefs for businesses in this situation? Perhaps they will go back on their promise in order to revise the plan further?

As a business owner, it is worth considering what the future might look like if these changes were to be implemented.

The best thing you can do as a business owner, is to start keeping track of your employees productivity. 

Are the findings reflective of your business? How happy are your employees?

By gathering data on the peaks and troughs of your business workflow and your customers demands, you’ll be better prepared to make the best decision you can when the problem of productivity is addressed by either whichever party is in Government.

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