FEATURE28 May 2020

Take four: How does the four-day week work?

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Features Impact Trends UK

Covid-19 has forced agencies to work remotely and could prompt a more flexible approach to work in future. In the April issue of Impact, we explored whether four days could become the standard, and asked one agency to share the results of how a shorter week has worked for them.

Calendar four day week_crop

At the start of this year, there was a flurry of excitement when media outlets around Europe reported that the Finnish prime minister, Sanna Marin, was planning to introduce a four-day working week policy. The story turned out to be a lesson in how false information can spread – Marin had merely floated the idea during a panel before she even became prime minister.

However, the working population is increasingly drawn to more flexible approaches, and economic arguments for a longer weekend have been gathering steam for a few years.

New Zealand trust management company Perpetual Guardian implemented a four-day week for its 240 employees after successfully trialling it in 2018, and Microsoft trialled it with its 2, 500 employees in Japan, finding that productivity increased by 40% after a month.

In Spain’s Valencia, the regional government has commissioned economists to draw up a strategy to move to the model without paying workers less.

The shorter working week is also favoured by the ...