The Benefits of Working a Four-Day Week

September 10, 2020 8:50 am Published by

The pandemic has experts looking into a four-day working week to high job losses. We look at how this could work – even in recruitment.

Britain has the longest working hours in Europe and the lowest productivity. It seems something has been off balance for a while. Then coronavirus forced employers to conduct the biggest experiment in flexible working ever seen on a mass scale. Like all industries, recruitment has taken a hit, so if you’re running a recruitment agency or thinking of starting your own – it’s worth looking into the four-day week option.

An expense worth paying?

Recent research by the think-tank Autonomy produced finding suggesting a four-day week for public sector workers in the UK would create up to half a million new jobs in the UK.

“The four-day week makes so much sense as it would boost productivity, create new jobs and make us all much happier and healthier.”

They went on to suggest going down to 32 hours a week over four days for the same pay would cost the treasury up to £9 billion pounds – an expense the Government is unlikely to go for. But this cost would work out around the same as the scheme paying £1000 to employers taking on an employee after furlough. So Autonomy argues this is potentially a cost worth paying.

A better work-life balance

17.5 million workdays were lost in 2018 due to mental health problems. And early research shows this pandemic has had a devastating effect on the mental wellbeing of many workers. The four-day week has always offered a better opportunity for employees to gain a three-day weekend and use that to lower stress and improve the quality of their work and home lives.

Quality not quantity

Studies have proven that productivity increases when you reduce working hours. So it’s good for the bottom line. A pilot study in New Zealand found that staff were happier and productivity went up 20%. Better to have a productive and happy workforce than an exhausted and stressed one.

Has it worked before in recruitment?

Yes. MRL in Hove is a recruitment firm that operates on a 4-day week. They began back in May 2019 and carefully studied it’s impact. The first thing CEO David Stone noticed was an increase in employee interest and retention:

We’ve received more interest from potential employees who want to work with us since the beginning of the trial and our retention is now at 95%.”

And productivity also rose at the firm by 25%. Workers also reported feeling less stressed and more rested.

A novel way to attract talent

If you’re thinking of setting up your own recruitment firm, offering a 3-day weekend is a rare perk that will appeal to potential employees. This could be how you attract top talent away from rival firms and persuade them to come and work for you. If the numbers work and the productivity is there – the four-day week could go from being a novelty to a norm.


Jason Connolly set up JMC Legal Recruitment in 2016 when he was still in his 20s. JMC Legal quickly established itself as one of the big players in the industry, and Jason has also become a well-known fixture in the press, offering advice and support.

JMC Partners is looking for recruiters interested in starting a business partnership under the JMC brand. Find out more here or contact our office for more information.

This post was written by rubenwilde

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