The question of a four day work week and its benefits has been raised again after Simply Business, a UK call centre, recently announced it was trialing a 30 hour work week in place of 37 hours a week with no changes to employee salaries.

The trial is set to start from September and is designed to improve employee well-being (and, in turn, productivity) after company bosses admitted in an article by The Guardian that the call centre environment is high pressure and the jobs are ‘intense’.

But how does this change impact others and what does it mean for similar-sized businesses watching from the sidelines?

Reduced Hours, Improved Productivity

Simply Business follows in the footsteps of Perpetual Guardian, a financial services business based in New Zealand that implemented a four-day work week last year.

Since then, the company claims that the change has boosted productivity and following this success, has met with UK employers across all industries including the public sector to discuss the benefits.

While it’s no surprise to the self-employed and small businesses, who organise their work life around other commitments such as childcare, that less time in work mode can actually increase productivity, the acceptance of this by bigger business means that the four day week could soon become the norm for all workers.

More Flexibility in the Workplace

These changes to the working week also emphasise a shift towards a better work-life balance for all workers, not just the self-employed. 

They also acknowledge the responsibilities of employees outside of their jobs and the need for flexibility within the workplace. And so the Simply Business 4 day work week trial offers employees either the chance to take an extra day off or the opportunity to work 5 shorter days to help those whose situations would benefit from having more time spread out over the week. As General Manager of Simply Business, Debs Holland states: “We’ve got lots of people who enjoy horse riding or go fishing but we also have lots of people with caring responsibilities … for them it is potentially life-changing.”

A Happier Working Environment for All

While flexible working and a better work-life balance have long been the draws for the self-employed and freelance community, the realisation by bigger business that the normal 9-5 and 5 day working week isn’t necessarily the best way to get the most out of employees is a proud moment for those who have worked hard with what little time they have to achieve success.

This movement again shows the self-employed community to be the trailblazers in the world of work. Through their hard work and determination, they are encouraging more and more people to take a look at their own work/life balance, seek out more flexible working opportunities, and as a result are helping bring about change that’s focused on creating a happier and more productive working environment for all.

Want to read more about the benefits of flexible/remote working? Check out these articles:


Photo by kate.sade on Unsplash