Introducing four-day working week in Scotland boosted productivity, says advice service

Scotland’s national advice service has said introducing a four-day working week reduced its staff absence and turnover while boosting productivity and the quality of applicants.

Analysis by Advice Direct Scotland (ADS) concluded business-related improvements at the organisation were a “direct result of increases in employee wellbeing”.

The Glasgow-based charity introduced a four-day working week for its own staff in late 2018, with workers receiving the same pay for a day less each week.

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Advice Direct Scotland has hailed the benefits of a four-day working weekAdvice Direct Scotland has hailed the benefits of a four-day working week
Advice Direct Scotland has hailed the benefits of a four-day working week

The model does not mean giving everyone the same day off, ensuring a five-day service is still delivered by adjusting schedules.

ADS was one of the first Scottish employers to introduce the initiative, and to mark the three-year anniversary it analysed several performance indicators for a new report.

This found a 71 per cent fall in employee absences since 2017, while the average number of absent days fell by 55 per cent.

Meanwhile, the rate of workers leaving the organisation dropped by around a third.

Staff were tasked with keeping a record of their own and their team’s productivity as ADS implemented the new model, and all departments reported a "substantial increase” in output.

The Scottish Government has launched a £10 million fund for four-day week pilots, with the idea backed by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC).

Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of ADS, said: “More workers and employers are recognising the importance of positive wellbeing and a four-day week is a fantastic way to achieve this.

“Following consultation and feedback processes, nearly all of our staff have reported experiencing both a reduction in their work-related stress and a marked increase in their enjoyment of work-related activities.

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“Crucially, employees are not the only beneficiaries of the four-day week.

"Employers stand to gain significantly from the implementation of the shorter week given the clear evidence of increased employee productivity."

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, we have to prioritise the wellbeing and protection of workers.

"It’s not good enough to return to outdated methods of work when technology and decent employment practices has shown a different work/life dynamic.

“This is an evidence-led, inclusive policy that, if implemented correctly with no loss of pay or conditions, can benefit both workers and employers.”



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