This year, the topic of the four-day working week and reduced working hours generally, has been put under the spotlight.
In April, HR Grapevine reported that more than 3,000 workers at 60 companies across Britain will trial a four-day working week, in what is thought to be the biggest pilot scheme of this type anywhere in the world.
CharlieHR’s nine-day fortnight experiment
Yet, some organisations are taking a slightly different approach to reduced working hours. Rather than trialling a four-day work week, for the last nine months one company has been trialling a nine-day fortnight with its team. For employees working at CharlieHR – a company which offers HR advice and software to SMEs – they were able to alternate between a five and a four-day working week. The main aim of this trial was to see whether shaking up work patterns could benefit areas such as wellbeing and productivity.
The results of the trial – from productivity to hiring
The results of the trial, which operated between October 2021 and June 2022, appeared to be largely positive, with the firm shedding light on how this impacted several key areas of HR. These findings will likely be useful to HR practitioners who are keen to explore similar initiatives.
Firstly, the company said it saw a 24% decrease in work-related stress across the company. If employees feel less stressed then this will likely have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing. Combatting stress among employees should be a top priority for employers, particularly with estimates from the Labour Force Survey – cited in a HSE report – finding that in 2020/2021, stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 50% of all work-related ill health cases.
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