Irish favour four-day working week

//Irish favour four-day working week

Irish favour four-day working week

Bees on purple flower

According to a recent workplace equality report carried out by Matrix Recruitment, 85pc of Irish workers are in favour of a four-day working week. Of those, the majority (85pc) said they believed it would boost employee health and wellbeing, while 86pc said it would create a better work-life balance. More than half (57pc) were of the view that most people could fit five days’ work into four days.

Irish favour four-day working week

According to Kieran McKeown, MD of Matrix Recruitment, it’s not a simple flick of the switch and there are some for whom it isn’t at all feasible.

“One of the hot topics of the business world last year was the potential for businesses to move to a four-day working week in 2022. To date in Ireland, around 20 businesses have signed up to trial the shorter week. This is to be a six-month trial to make it a permanent working condition in each company. A similar trial is underway in the UK, and it follows the completion of successful trials in the likes of Iceland, Sweden, Japan and New Zealand.”

McKeown explains; “Technology has evolved and the theory that longer hours equate to better productivity doesn’t necessarily ring true anymore. It’s possible for many employees to get the work required of them completed in four days, just as efficiently as they would in five.”

However, while the majority of employees favour a four-day working week, there are many factors for the employer to consider. For many businesses, it might just not be possible to cease operating on a Friday, according to McKeown. “This one is pretty self-explanatory. If the business operates in certain industries such as hospitality, retail, logistics, the media and so on, it cannot simply decide to close its door one extra day a week without significant consequences, including the loss of business or custom to a competitor.”

For those that could make the switch, McKeown suggests going in with an open mind but to understand the impact of each scenario on the business – both good and bad.

The case for a 4 day week

According to McKeown, the main advantages of a four-day working week include reduced costs and the potential for increased employee satisfaction, increased productivity and staff retention.

“A four-day week can cut costs for everyone involved in business, employees and employers alike. Office running costs will be reduced due to being closed an extra day and employees save on commuting costs and lunch and similar expenses associated with a day in the office. In addition, employees have an extra day to unwind and recharge, meaning they have a better work/life balance, are well-rested, and more ready to hit the ground running on a Monday morning.

Having more time to do the things you love and spend time with family can increase overall happiness and a general improvement in wellbeing.”

An increase in productivity levels is also likely according to McKeown: “If staff are content and fulfilled, it is a general rule of thumb that they will be more productive and focused on their job. So if a shorter week means happier employees, it will likely have a positive effect on their work.”

A New Zealand firm that trialled a four day week found that 78% of employees could more effectively balance their work and home life. This compared to 54% before the experiment.

Finally, it’s about flexibility. “Being able to offer more flexible working options to staff is definitely a benefit that both attracts talent and retains good employees, especially since the pandemic – people have re-evaluated what’s important to them. A four-day week is still a relatively rare offering and can be a great way to get the best talent through the door – and keep them engaged, too.

If you’re one of the first companies to offer this, you may give your business a competitive edge in a highly competitive recruitment market, driving interest among candidates.”

There are two sides to the coin, however, as Matrix Recruitment’s survey showed. 15pc of respondents were not in favour of a four-day working week, with 38pc of those saying that it would create a very pressurised environment. More than one-third of respondents said that the policy would result in the long working day.

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By | 2022-03-02T17:00:17+00:00 March 2nd, 2022|Technology|Comments Off on Irish favour four-day working week