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Four-Day Working Week Improves Staff’s Mental Health By 87%, Company Finds

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 10 Dec 2019 14:32
NBC

If the idea of a four-day working week wasn’t good enough, it turns out it’s actually more beneficial for you than just giving you an extra day to binge-watch Friends for the 100th time.

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Brighton-based firm MRL Consulting Group trialled a four-day working week for six months and found its staff, and business, ended up a lot better off.

Starting the trial in March of this year, the company found 87% of staff felt their mental health had improved, short-term absences had reduced by 40% and productivity also improved by 25%.

Four-Day Working Week Improves Staff's Mental Health By 87%, Company FindsFour-Day Working Week Improves Staff's Mental Health By 87%, Company FindsPexels

Better mental health, less absences and more productivity – what’s not to love in the eyes of a business owner?!

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The idea came from company CEO David Stone, after he felt his 54 employees across the UK, Germany and France could achieve five days’ worth of work in four days.

He said: 

We’re an output-based business, so we’ve always been driven by results, rather than the time people spend at their desks.

I considered that if people could be really self-critical of the time they spend at work, cutting down the time spent scrolling and socialising, then we’d be able to give them Fridays off. The results generated during the six-month trial have led us to implement a four-day week working model on a permanent basis.

Recruitment is reportedly the most stressful working environment, with 82% of consultants claiming to feel stressed at work.

Four-Day Working Week Improves Staff's Mental Health By 87%, Company FindsFour-Day Working Week Improves Staff's Mental Health By 87%, Company FindsPexels

According to The Guardian, employees in the UK work one of the longest working weeks in Europe and enjoy the fewest national holidays.

Co-director of the thinktank Autonomy Will Stronge said in The Guardian: 

In 2017-18, 57% of all sick days were due to work-related stress, anxiety or depression, and 44% of these were caused by workload pressure alone.

With more time to recover and recuperate, workers will perform better, enjoy their work more and inevitably take less sick leave.

Numerous studies on existing four-day week companies have shown that productivity relies not just on the sheer number of hours put in, but on the wellbeing, fatigue levels and overall health of the worker too.

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Four-Day Working Week Improves Staff's Mental Health By 87%, Company FindsFour-Day Working Week Improves Staff's Mental Health By 87%, Company FindsPA

The Labour Party is also a supporter of a four-day working week, with the party wanting to make 37.5-hour weeks a thing of the past and bring in 32-hour working weeks instead.

Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said:

I can tell you today that the next Labour government will put in place the changes needed to reduce average full-time hours to 32 a week within the next decade.

The Labour Party also promises the shorter working week will not affect peoples’ wages either.

Maybe a shorter working week is the answer to all our problems…

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Labor, Mental Health, Stress, Work