Four-day work weeks could soon be the norm after a major study found considerable benefits for workers and businesses.

The study, which involved 61 firms from a range of industries, encompassing around 3,000 workers has been hailed as a major success as the majority were convinced of its practical benefits. Not only did worker turnover decrease, employees reported a lower level of burnout while some firms also experienced unusual increases in revenues – suggesting it made those businesses more productive.

The success of the trial has seen politicians call for its wider implementation while major businesses, such as Sainsburys and Dunelm, are considering adopting the practice. It’s safe to say that the four-day work week trend could soon be coming to your workplace. However, what are the potential financial implications?

How a four-day work week would affect you and your money

The trial was explicitly designed so that workers would enjoy more free time while continuing to earn the same amount of money as if they were working five-day weeks. From an earnings standpoint – no one should lose out.

There is also a potential impact on the success of the business you work for, in the long term, if the findings of the trial bear out more widely. If businesses are able to improve productivity and earn more money, it could lead to better pay rewards for workers too.

Another aspect that could be of benefit is what people do in their extra free day. While some may choose to spend more time on leisure activities, with kids or grandkids, or just relaxing, others may choose to pursue part-time work or even a side hustle business to earn extra money with their new-found time.

There are other important financial perks to consider such as the cost of childcare. The UK has some of the most expensive childcare costs in Europe, so as a parent or grandparent being able to help out with kids an extra day a week could be a financial, as well as familial boon. Since the pandemic, there has also been an increasing shift of older workers abstaining from the workforce. The reasons for this have been debated, with some citing wealthy retirement pots for many who don’t need to work, while others lay the blame on a healthcare crisis for older people. The introduction of more flexible working patterns such as a four-day week could be helpful for older workers looking for a softer reintroduction to the workplace, or flexibility to meet their lifestyles.

Drawbacks of a four-day work week

While there appear to be considerable benefits to a short working week, there are also some drawbacks.

Implementation may vary but some employers could ask workers to fulfil the same number of hours as they would over five. For instance, instead of working 5x eight-hour days employees could do 4x ten-hour days. Not all businesses will find shorter work weeks practical either, particularly those that rely on shift work. This could lead to staffing shortages in key sectors such as healthcare or hospitality.

Ultimately though, in financial terms, no one should be worse off from working less days in the week. Plus, with the freedom of an extra day to yourself, it could be an ideal time to start something new or spend more time on yourself.

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All the data contained in the communication is believed to be reliable but may be inaccurate or incomplete. Unless otherwise specified all information is produced as of 14th March 2023.