Whilst welcomed in some quarters, The Trades Union Congress’ (TUC) recent call for a four-day week has caused a great deal of consternation in the business world, not least because of the implications it could have for employers’ bottom lines and the wider economy. But what would a shorter working week mean for employees?
“Work/life balance” might seem like a bit of a trendy phrase, but in our experience the desire to maintain a healthy equilibrium between work and leisure time is one of the primary concerns of the modern employee. A four day week would extend the weekend to three days, allowing many workers to spend more time with their families or pursue leisure activities of their choice.
Work smart not hard?
On the other hand, business owners may come to expect more graft from their employees on the four days they are in work. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has effectively urged employees to “work smart not hard” by harnessing the power of technology and communications to help them do their jobs more efficiently, but this will require employers to “share the wealth from new technology”. Whether or not business owners will be willing to sacrifice the necessary resources remains open to question, so employees would be wise to prepare for a significantly altered job landscape.
If the working week is cut to four days, employers could turn to alternative recruitment strategies in order to manage their workload. This would benefit some workers and disadvantage others. From the employers’ perspective, there is a danger that sections of the UK workforce would become too used to having an extra day off, which could potentially lead to a downturn in productivity. Companies that rely on last-minute and temporary staff will be particularly alert to this possibility. However, should such a cultural change occur, opportunities will be created for workers with a more flexible mind-set. Many businesses will be looking for ways to get the best staff on-board at a moment’s notice, and those who are happy to work flexibly may be the ones to benefit.
Get signed up
Exactly what a shift to a four-day week might mean for employees in the long-term is difficult to predict, but there is no doubt that employers will make any changes necessary to ensure their businesses remain as productive and profitable as possible. Aspiring workers should therefore look to sign up with a recruitment agency that works closely with employers – an agency that knows precisely what businesses want from their employees. Here at Frontline we do exactly that. Whether you prefer a flexible approach to working or are looking for something permanent, contact us today to find out what we can do for you.