Who decided that 9-5 was the best way to do things? The story goes it was Henry Ford who popularised the shift pattern in the 1920s and which has its origins in the American labour unions in the 1800s.
But working life has changed a lot since then – and most recently has made a massive shift with Covid-19 making us all rethink how we do things.
Unilever in New Zealand is the latest company to trial the 4-day working week without cutting pay – it says that it is going to measure output rather than time spent at work.
The move follows a Government-backed study with Zurich Insurance that showed by offering flexible, part-time and job share roles – 20% more women were applying for senior roles.
And it’s not just a women in the workplace issue. While the research found that women are more likely to have caring responsibilities and may prefer flexible working options, it found many more men also applied for roles when they offered flexible working options, suggesting the issue was just as important for them.
Existing part-time employees also reported a stronger sense of “belonging” due to the shift, pointing to the fear some workers have of being judged for not working full-time.
Steve Collinson, Zurich’s head of HR, said: “By offering roles that fit flexibly around family life, employers could open the floodgates to a much wider pool of untapped talent.”
We want to know what you think about the four-day week – if you are an employer or an employee, let us know whether you have introduced new working patterns to attract and retain staff or if you don’t think it’s a good idea?
Please fill in a few questions in our survey below or add to the discussion in our comments section.
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If you operate a four-day working week or have introduced less conventional working patterns, we’d like to hear from you. Contact Hannah Finch, Audience Editor on [email protected]