Is the four-day working week possible?

By Mary Fitzgerald, Account Director

On the 150th anniversary of its creation, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) brought a smile to many a worker’s face across the British Isles. We were told that with the latest advances in technology, especially #AI, a four-day work week is within our grasp.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC insisted that the change is possible. “In the nineteenth century, unions campaigned for an eight-hour day. In the twentieth century, we won the right to a two-day weekend and paid holidays. So, for the twenty-first century, let’s lift our ambition again. I believe that in this century we can win a four-day working week, with decent pay for everyone,” she said.

In response, Tahmina Begum @tahminaxbegum, reporter at  the Huffington Post took to the streets and asked people what they would do if they had a four-day week and ultimately an extra day to themselves. Those she spoke with suggested they would spend more time with their families, catch up on sleep or take up a new hobby. There are currently trials taking place at organisations based in New Zealand and Italy to see if a four-day working week will work. The jury is still out, with little evidence to back shorter working hours, especially after a two-year trial in Sweden when some companies introduced a six-hour working day has been inconclusive.  Although significant productivity benefits were initially reported, experts found that the cost outweighed the benefits overall.

With the UK having the lowest productivity of any country in Europe but one of the longest working weeks, maybe the tide is about to turn? Especially as many of us frequently check our emails and work when we’re meant to be on holiday.

Although a shorter week may still be a way off in the UK, if you are a client-side marketing or PR professional working in technology with not enough time in your work to get everything done, it would be worth considering hiring a specialist agency.

While we can’t commit to reducing your working week to four days (sorry!), we can guarantee tangible and impactful results that are underpinned by robust performance commitments and formal service level agreements within a strategic yet creative campaign. We all work hard to ensure that our clients can rely on us to be an extension of their in-house team, taking the time to really understand their businesses, challenges and the industry in which they operate.

To see what we do in practice, you can read some of our client case studies on our website.