The Green Room

I want every company to work a four day week. AMA

Hi, I am Campaign Officer for the 4 Day Week Campaign where we’re campaigning across the UK for a four-day, 32-hour working week with no reduction in pay. I’m also Media and Comms Lead for the think tank Autonomy, a former Labour Party Press Officer and former adviser to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP.

This will be a great chance to ask Joe all of your burning questions on working a four day week and find out more about the fantastic work he does.

We hope to see you here Tuesday 17th August at 12pm!

You’ll need to sign up to the forum to take part. Once you have signed up, add this event to your calendar by clicking the three dots in the invitation above.

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Thanks for doing this AMA @joeryle, looking forward to seeing your responses on Tuesday!

Hi Joe, thank you for doing this AMA, the 4 day week concept is something I am really interested in but always wondered with deadlines, and overtime that employees just end up doing 5 days anyway?!

Hi Joe,
Thanks for being here today! When I first came across the idea of a four-day working week, I thought it was and still is amazing!
Would you say there is a correlation between the size of a company and the willingness to trial/implement a four-day working week? Are larger, more established companies starting to look into it or have you found that smaller startups are more likely to lean towards the idea?
Have you noticed a difference in employee morale where a four-day working week has been implemented and if so, is there a pattern?

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Hi Joe! Really looking forward to the discussion today; I am excited to read your responses. Many leaders think that having a 4 day work week will result in reduced productivity and motivation. What do you think?

How do you structure a four day work week to be effective?

How do you resolve issues with employees who may not be in favour of working four days?

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Hi Joe - thank you for joining us today! Why work a four day week? What benefits will a four day week have on employees and employers?

Hi Joe

Have you come across any organisations where a gour day week has been successfully implemented for shift workers working in a 24/7 environment?

Also, how do you manage expectations and relations if its felt a four day week can’t be offered to everyone?

Hi Shelby, that hasn’t tended to be the case with organisations that have switched to four-day work weeks with no reduction in pay. When workers are better rested they tend to be more motivated at work to perform better and more productively in their job which means they can get the same amount of work done or more in four-days (32 hours)

Hi Jane, thanks for your question. There’s no reason why bigger or smaller organisations can’t implement a four-day week. Most businesses that have switched so far in the UK tend to be small businesses but Awin (one of the biggest online marketing firms) have switched in the UK with over 2000 employees, Microsoft have trialled it in Japan and the global giant Unilever are currently trialling it in their New Zealand office.

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Hey! Where companies and businesses have adopted or are trialling a four-day week with no loss of pay, the opposite tends to happen - productivity and motivation goes up!

  1. The best structure of a four-day week is one that is adapted and flexible to suit an organisations’ needs. For some organisations, shutting the office on a Friday for everyone will be easiest but for others that won’t be possible. Some orgs who have more customer facing teams tend to rotate the days that staff have off for example.

  2. The overwhelming majority of people in the UK support a four-day week with no loss of pay but it’s good practice for an organisation to run a consultation with all staff before implementing it. This can be helpful for ironing out any anticipated difficulties beforehand and for building more support internally.

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Hi Hannah. There are so many benefits! Here are 10:

  1. Increased productivity
  2. Better mental health and wellbeing
  3. Reduced carbon emissions
  4. Improved gender equality
  5. Strengthened communities - more time to build relationships
  6. Reduced unemployment
  7. Boost to the UK tourism sector
  8. Boost to local economies
  9. Would help to tackle family breakdown
  10. Good for democracy with more time to engage in politics
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Hi Lynn,

There are a few restaurants that have implemented a four-day week with shift workers but it is more rare. Unfortunately, the nature of shift work and zero hour contracts means that many people on low-incomes wouldn’t be able to afford to take home less pay on a four-day week until wider wider policy changes are implemented across the economy. For example; a higher living wage, a ban on zero hours contracts and an extension of workers rights.

But ultimately, implementing a four-day week with no loss in pay across PAYE sectors will put upwards pressure on legally and socially accepted wages in all sectors.

We have a research project ongoing at the moment looking at exactly this which should be out in the next few months.

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Thanks Joe! How can we get more companies involved in working a four day week?

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By spreading the word and encouraging any companies who are hesitant to give it a go by trialling it for 6 months first - there doesn’t need to be a firm commitment to implement it permanently at the beginning.

All of these orgs have already done it in the UK: https://www.4dayweek.co.uk/employers and this campaign video we filmed is very persuasive at making the case: https://youtu.be/nOyH1W8_hbc

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Hopefully more companies will continue to look into it!
What would you say has been the hardest part when campaigning for a four-day week?

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Hi Joe :wave: I’m a huge supporter for 4-day Work Weeks, but I can imagine management would be reluctant to give up one whole day in the week for meetings, interviews… they never seem to have enough time to attend all the meetings they want to. How do you respond to that?

Secondly, I was wondering how this may impact bank holidays. Would most employees end up having 3-day work weeks, or do you think this would incentivise companies to offer flex holidays (i.e. take the bank holiday on a different day that may be more convenient for the employee)? Thank you!

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It’s been hard pushing back against how ingrained the 9-5, 5 day working week is, despite the fact it is a very outdated model of work. However, Covid has massively opened people’s eyes to the idea of changing working patterns.

The other thing that’s been difficult is some people getting confused by what a four-day week is and understanding it as compressing a normal 5 day week into 4 days. This isn’t what we are campaigning for as the most essential part of a four-day week is reducing work hours - this is the only way to tackle work related mental health issues, overwork, stress and burnout.

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Hey! Moving to a four-day week can be a very useful exercise for organisations as it can help them to look at pre-existing inefficiencies. Many orgs that have made the switch have realised that reducing the amount of meetings and length of meetings is necessary in the first place and this can help with the switch to a four day work week.

Bank holidays would be completely unaffected so yes, on those weeks many employees would have a three day week. The UK actually has the fewest number of bank holidays compared to any EU country and a very low amount compared to the rest of the world so we’re overdue a few more of those too!

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Do you think it’s possible for everyone to work a four day week? How can we implement this?
and Do you have any advice if employees want to work a four day week but are not sure how to approach their employers?

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Eventually yes! The Government could introduce a 32 hour maximum working week with a transition period to get the entire economy there which we think would need to be 4-5 years. In the US a congressman has just introduced this legislation and we’re looking at something similar here via a Private Members Bill.

The advice we give to employees wanting to demand a four-day week at work can be found here on our website: https://www.4dayweek.co.uk/advice-for-workers

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