Rich Leigh, the founder of Radioactive PR company, is spending his Friday afternoon in a coffee shop. No, he was not having a coffee break, rather he was enjoying his day-off just like the rest of his employees! The reason? Well, let’s just say that Rich Leigh believes that his employees wouldn’t be able to do a good job if their job is all they do.
“There are two ways to make money in my line of work,” Rich Leigh explained. “retain clients and get new ones. Miserable, tired staff can’t do either.”
As a solution to boost the efficiency of his employees, Leigh opted to adopt a 4-day a week scheme. How does this work? By theory, in a 4-day a week scheme, employees have to work from 28-32 hours in a week. Although they have a shorter amount of time spent in the office, employees would still be paid for 35-40 hours in a week salary rate.
To see if the 4-day a week scheme would work with his company, Leigh and his employees gave it a try for 6 weeks. As a result, Leigh discovered that his employees are just as productive and even show signs of growth and improvement!
What makes the 4-day a week scheme more productive and efficient than the traditional 5-day a week scheme? Leigh thinks that it is all due to the emotional well-being of his employees. Now that they have fewer days spent at work, his employees are definitely happy- if not happier!
Shawn Anchor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, explains that the brain works much better when a person is feeling positive or is happy. Thus happy employees are 12% more productive as compared to employees who are not.
Leigh’s The Radioactive PR company is not the only company who has shifted to the new work hour scheme. The Green Party and Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, believes that employees deserve to awarded with reduced working hours. “It’s time to share the wealth from new technology, not allow those at the top to grab it for themselves,” she reiterated.
However, Leigh also shared the downsides of adopting a 4-day a week scheme. Now, his employees have a reduced 45-minutes lunch break and a 20% annual leave.
But this doesn’t seem to bother Leigh’s employees. For example, Angharad Planells, the 4-day a week scheme worked well with her.“Honestly, I don’t see myself ever leaving,” Planells voiced out how satisfied she is with the new working hours scheme. “Did I mention how many CVs we’ve had in since people found out we went four days?”
The founder of the 4 Day Week Campaign, Aidan Harper, is hoping that the new working hours scheme will be universally mandated by legislation or by the trade union.
“In the UK, we have growing numbers of overworked people,” Harper explained. “but we also have a growing number of under-worked people, namely gig economy employees looking for more work. So one question is whether the redistribution of time, of workload, might help this.”
Harper also stressed out that the 5-day a week scheme is designed to cater to the jobs we had generations ago. Now that we are in the 21st century, things need to be changed to keep up with the demands of our society.
“And there is a more potent question about what the economy is for. Surely the purpose of the economy is to create a good life within it, and have a material basis from which you can be housed, have an education etc. But something our economy is not providing for us is time, which we need. The next stage in economic development should not be to generate more stuff, but to create the conditions in which we can live good lives.” Harper added.
Does the new working hour scheme being introduced today excite you? SHARE your thoughts in the comment section below!