The case for the new four day working week
This week the Trades Union Congress (TUC) presented the case for a four day working week and called on Government to take action to enable people to work fewer days but remain on the same wages. The federation of trade unions in England and Wales argued a four day working week would be realistic during this century if businesses were obliged to share the benefits of evolving technology with their staff.
“Technology is changing the face of the modern workplace every day, with the ability for employers to accommodate flexible working requests supported by a wide range of software and hardware such as advancing mobile phones and the evolution of artificial intelligence,” explains Sam Holt of Norfolk accountancy recruitment specialists, Big Sky Additions. “Taking flexible working as far as a complete shift to a four day working week is a big step, and I think most employers will greet this idea with a degree of caution.”
The real potential for a move to a four day working week is likely to be sector specific – it seems unrealistic to expect to see any sweeping changes in areas like healthcare, retail and hospitality, where customer demand is for a 24-7 service. There are also concerns that a move to a four day week may put pressure on over stretched staff who might be expected to squeeze five days work into four, resulting in higher levels of stress and sickness.
The concept also presents a mixed bag for the recruitment industry. “With fewer working hours to cover we could find ourselves worse off, although there may be opportunities as well where gaps in services created by permanent staff working a shortened week create opportunities for agency staff to be recruited to fill the gap,” suggests Sam. “We are also conscious that technology is becoming increasingly important and a focus on placing candidates with strong technology and IT skills could set a recruitment agency above its competitors.”
Successful flexible working is about effectiveness: “If you work smartly, you can be effective in a restricted window of time so long as you are focused on the right things,” concludes Sam.
For information about accountancy jobs in Norfolk call Sam Holt on 01603 516254