It is no secret that the pandemic has transformed the way we work in the UK, meaning many companies have had to adopt a new working model. Whether that be hybrid working, flexible hours, or trialling four-day weeks, the 9 to 5 model is no longer our only option, as it doesn’t suit the needs of the modern-day professional. Thus, it appears that a four-day work week and hybrid options are among the top demands for most job seekers.
Although a four-day work week is a relatively new concept, a growing number of companies are already trialling the idea with promising results. So, what are the advantages of a four-day working week? Companies with shorter working hours typically have a smaller carbon footprint, so it makes sense that reducing our work week could have an environmental benefit too. Plus, it would mean employees are also cutting down on their commute, therefore using less fuel. Not to mention, office buildings will only be in use four days a week which will be more financially beneficial and energy efficient.
As well, some reports suggest that working fewer hours can also boost productivity and lead to happier and more committed employees, as they are less likely to feel stressed or over-worked. With employees spending less time at work, they can feel happier and more focused in their role, as employees will have more time to focus on their personal development and mental wellbeing.
While there are certainly many benefits to a four-day work week, there are also a few disadvantages, as change will always bring about some challenges. For example, not all industries can participate, for some businesses may not benefit from a shorter work week. This might be because some businesses or professions such as retail, require longer working hours due to certain demands. As well, some companies are offering four-day work weeks with ten-hour days instead of eight, meaning employees are still expected to work 40-hour weeks, but across four days. Therefore, longer working days could impact employee’s productivity. Ultimately, changing the way a business works is never going to be an easy transition, and companies will need to evaluate if a four-day week is the right choice for their business operations.
On the other hand, the hybrid model of work has become a popular choice for a lot of office workers, as this sees workers splitting their time between home and the office. With the need for remote working during the pandemic, it has now led employees to seek out greater flexibility in their working lives. Thus, the hybrid model gives employees the flexibility and freedom to choose what days they work in the office, which can lead to a better work-life balance. Some of the other perks that have come from the hybrid model include the elimination of lengthy commutes, freedom from the distractions of the office environment, reduced costs for both employees and the company, and improved mental health and well-being.
However, even though hybrid working has its benefits it is not without its disadvantages, for it can still present its own challenges. Some of these potential challenges include home distractions, technological issues, and difficulties with motivation. Therefore, if we are going to move away from the 9 to 5 office lifestyle, it is important to consider the pros and cons of both hybrid working and four-day weeks.