The 4 day week has recently become a hot topic in the agency world. But how could it work for your agency? We were joined by Dr Charlotte Rae, a psychology lecturer at the University of Sussex, who conducted a comprehensive study on this topic. Let’s dive in and discover the insights she has to share!
The Fascination with the 4 Day Week
“I first became interested in the 4 day week when I saw the results of Andrew Barnes’ trial at Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand business, three years ago. The trial showed improved staff wellbeing and enhanced performance in the workplace,” explains Dr Rae.
Defining the 4 Day Week
“In a nutshell, a 4 day week means that full-time employees work for only four days but retain their full-time salary,” Dr Rae clarifies. She adds, “Different organisations can implement the 4 day week in various ways, depending on their operational needs.”
Benefits for Employers
Dr Rae mentions, “There are potential benefits for employers too, ranging from enhanced productivity to improved retention and recruitment.” She highlights that agencies, in particular, are leveraging the four-day week to stand out as attractive employers in the highly competitive job market.
Insights from Trials
“Trials have been instrumental in uncovering the benefits of a 4 day week,” says Dr Rae. She points out that Andrew Barnes’ initial trial demonstrated improved work-life balance, higher wellbeing, and increased job satisfaction. This success led to the establishment of the Four Day Week Global Foundation, which has been running trials worldwide, including in the UK.
National Trial Results
Dr Rae shares, “Last year, a national trial took place in the UK with over 60 employers and nearly 3000 employees, with agencies forming a significant part of the participants.” According to her, the results of the national trial indicated that a large majority of employees experienced reduced burnout, stress, and improved mental health. Additionally, many reported feeling less tired and sleeping better.
“Employers are voting with their feet,” states Dr Rae. “92% of organisations in the national trial have chosen to continue with the four-day working week long term.” She further reveals that many employers expressed satisfaction with business performance, and the trial saw a notable decrease of 57% in the number of staff leaving.
Sussex Project Findings
Dr Rae explains, “In our local Sussex project, we aimed to delve deeper into the changes taking place in the workplace, staff wellbeing, and the underlying psychological aspects.” She emphasises that their results so far have shown improved wellbeing, increased work motivation, and the perception of accomplishing more work in less time.
4 Day Week: How can it benefit me?
Dr Rae’s study sheds light on the benefits of a four day week for businesses. It highlights improved employee wellbeing, heightened motivation, and the potential for increased productivity. As this concept gains traction, it may revolutionise the way we work, striking a better balance between work and personal life.
What are your thoughts on the 4 day week? Let us know over on Linkedin!
Charlotte studied for a BA Experimental Psychology and MSc Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, then a PhD at the University of Cambridge on the structural and functional networks of voluntary action. She moved to Brighton & Sussex Medical School for a postdoc with Hugo Critchley, on the links between interoception and action, with a particular focus on Tourette syndrome. In 2019 she took up a lectureship in Psychology at Sussex.
In 2022, Charlotte started a major study investigating how our working patterns, and specifically a 4 day working week, can change wellbeing and workplace performance.