New normal | There's much more to flexible working than the 4-day week or working from home

There's much more to flexible working than the 4-day week or working from home

Recently the media has been inundated with stories about the four-day working week. The discussion is not a new one, we are hearing more about pilot schemes introducing the working concept, but the implementation to the next level of flexibility is not so simple.

Organisations have adjusted to the changes to working life, which has opened the case for further shifts in how we work, although having said that.

Employer trust has increased as it has been shown that employees have integrated to remote working and adapted their working practices.

Those campaigning for the new “the four-day working week” mantra have been successful in getting their vision into the news. However, there is natural uncertainty as to how far-fetched the logistics could be, with doubt expressed towards how it could really work in practice.

Even so, there are clear benefits for not only employees but also businesses alike, namely, reduced costs, a happier and healthier workforce, evidence of increases in productivity and the talent attraction and retention appeal which the strategic shift would have.

All the same, there are strong arguments to resist these claims, as trials are still in the early stages, citing that the longer hours to make up a day lost will lead to eventual work-related stress, and burnout with the requirement to work a 10-hour day, and the case for when employees may be hard-pressed with their workload, they may end up working the outside of the agreed times to fit in more, an exercise which would not be sustainable.

Despite this, there is an appreciation that a big change will always cause upheaval and whilst the research in the UK is at an early stage, CIPD have been able to pull findings from what we do know so far with the help of the European countries and the evidence they have with wider roll outs, suggesting the 4-day week invites improved engagement, job satisfaction and loyalty whilst also reducing absenteeism and improving well-being.

To recognise, whether your business model suits this potential new level of flexible working, it is essential that you fully understand the demands for people presence that you have, its, predictability, skill requirement, timing, and a concrete blue print for implementation, requiring full analysis, predictive forecasting and even in some extremes, AI developments.

In all cases this is the starting point to understand the requirements to meet the ever evolving ‘new normal’.

To find out more, see our latest blog, Productivity & the Flexible Workforce - What is the best shift pattern? for more detail.

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