Kerry O'Neill

Jul 11, 2022

Will You Need To Offer A Four-Day Working Week To Secure Future Candidates?

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A four-day working week is currently being trialled across the UK, with 3,300 employees at 70 companies working one day less, without any loss of pay. The question is: will it become the norm, and will you need to offer it to candidates?

Below, our team gives their insights – talking through the positives, the challenges, and the likelihood of it turning into the status quo, including in senior roles.
 

The positives
Many of our team feel a four-day working week will improve work-life balance, helping to increase motivation and employee focus. As a result, they’ll be more productive, and have better mental health. Some pointed to the ‘salarymen’ example in Japan, where their high number of hours actually results in lower productivity.

These positives of a four-day week could be felt for specific sectors, in areas like quality control and HSE, and potentially even in HR. Though they may not apply to every industry…
 

The challenges
It was noted that it’s difficult to implement a four-day week across manufacturing and distribution operations due to their need to maintain productivity. Whilst some logistics businesses have long had a four-on, four-off shift pattern, we’ve found it’s not always well received due to the long hours.


Members of our team also wondered whether closing an organisation for an extra day would cause them to lose business, and if spreading staff across different days could trigger delays and issues both internally and externally. Our CEO, Wayne Brophy, questions a four-day working week too. Are businesses expecting more productivity in less time? And if so, are they saying that their existing team is underperforming?

Sales Director, Gary Robinson, has concerns as well. Some companies who introduced this before the trial were cutting pay by 20% to make up for the day not worked. This could become a trend. He also thinks that people working less days could trigger the need for more employees – deepening existing issues with the candidate-short market.

The likelihood

Whilst Gary questions the positives, he does feel it will happen – potentially following a similar path to working from home, though not on as large a scale. We think it’s unlikely to become common practice – though we have seen a few of our public sector clients experience great success with a four-day week.

It’s possible that more people will become open to it. The impact of the pandemic has already changed how we’re used to working, prompting a shift in perspective. As the future of the workforce (Gen Z) wants to be able to work their way, they’re turning down office-based 9-5 roles. So if a four-day working week becomes a staple, companies will need to keep pace.


As for whether it would work for senior-level positions, provided it’s applied correctly, and there’s a willingness to be flexible alongside effective delegation and technology, then our team thinks it could be a success.

Win talent with Cast UK

Whether or not the four-day week is the future remains to be seen, though it’s worth referring back to Gary’s point about the current recruitment market. Regardless of how many days employees are working, you’ll need to secure them in the first place – and ensure you meet their needs.

Cast UK can help with this. Our Recruitment Solutions will set you on track to land the right talent. Want to chat? Call us on 0333 121 3345 or email hello@castuk.com.

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