Guest Blog by Portia Vincent-Kirby from Hudson McKenzie
Trade Unions recently called for a ‘Four-Day Working Week’, but how plausible and practical is this suggestion?
The week in week out routine of most workers is a typical 9-5pm day, Monday to Friday – so what would happen if workers were giving the opportunity of more flexible working, in which included a four-day week instead of five?
Granted, most who already enjoy the option of having a ‘Work From Home’ Day may see this already as a day in which they are not technically at work as they do not have to commute or even dress in office attire – so would a four day working week be necessary, in terms of an extra day off completely or would a mandatory ‘Work From Home’ day (to the extent necessary for this to be so) suffice instead?
Given that an employee’s salary may dramatically decrease should a four-day working week proceed, then many may opt out of this option, in favour of retaining their income instead. Furthermore, it may seem to defeat the object of being an earning employee if three days a week one is likely to have more opportunity to consume and thus spend more money than they usually would instead of earning instead.
Alternatively, there have been suggestions that a five-day working week would be crammed into a four-day working week instead – meaning that employees would retain their salary and still get three days off. Although this may sound like a grand idea, how practical is it really to expect employees to spread out a whole day’s work of approximately eight hours over a four-day period? For instance, will employees be willing to work from 8:00am until 8:00pm every day, just for the sake of an extra day off?
From a HR perspective, it doesn’t seem like a healthy motive to expect employees to be at work for this number of hours. For instance, sitting in front of a computer screen for this length of time could eventually cause serious health problems with the body. If a work from home day were to be included in these four-days, perhaps it would be more feasible a suggestion, as employees would be able to work from the comfort of their own homes, which may increase their productivity. It would also make commuting less strenuous and less employees, by having a four-day working week and one work from home day, are unlikely to be taking public transport to the extent that they are now.
With the UK economy set to have £200 Billion Pound technological ‘Boost’within the coming decade, perhaps a four-day working week will only be the beginning to a path of slowly decreasing the number of ‘humans’ within the workforce, as most are replaced by Artificial Technology instead. Therefore, perhaps the initiative of a implementing a four-day working week with an optional work from home day included is only a natural progression of events regarding the future of the working environment.