We’ve been talking about revolutions in the way we work a lot recently. Too much? No. This is a recruitment newsletter. As a recruiter, we know you eat, sleep, and breath work – work is your business and business is… well, business is a little weird right now. The thing about all this turmoil, and oh wow is there a lot of turmoil, is that it’s got the rest of the world thinking about work as much as recruiters do. People are worried about how we can get the economy to recover from the hit of COVID-19. One of the solutions might surprise you.
Do less work.
For the average recruiter the idea of a 40 hour, five-day work week already probably seems like a bit of a pipe-dream but we did previously cover MRL Consulting, who proved that a four-day work week increases efficiency for recruitment firms too. Proving, yet again, that I am a trendsetter who is ahead of the curve, the four-day work week is having a bit of a moment right now. Cross-party MPs in the UK have signed a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak arguing that the four-day week “would give many more opportunities to the growing list of unemployed people which already stands at 2.8 million people”.
While this idea might seem new and radical, it’s actually pretty old.
So I guess I’m not that ahead of the curve after all. They point out that “shorter working time has been used throughout history as a way of responding to economic crises. They were used as a way of reducing unemployment during the Great Depression of the 1930s, which led to the normalisation of the eight-hour day and the 40-hour week” In fact, we might actually be pretty far behind the curve on this one. The 40-hour week was established in the 1930’s and hasn’t changed since then. In 1956, then Vice President Richard Nixon told Americans that they would only have to work four days a week “in the not too distant future” and a Senate committee report from the 1960s predicted that by 2000 the workweek would be down to fourteen hours.
So clearly we’ve gone off the rails a bit here.
But perhaps all this upheaval will be an opportunity to get back on the right path. It’s been proven that productivity goes up when hours go down and it’s a tried and tested method for boosting the economy. So instead of asking should we do this now? Maybe we should be asking why haven’t we done this already!
TT’s top story
The Ardonagh Group have just secured a $2bn loan from a group of private credit funds led by Ares Management. They have offices all over the UK and we reckon they’ll be filling them up soon.
Have you heard?
So are there any downsides to a four-day work week?
Balance is important, for example the balance of four-days on and three-days off opposed to the lack of balance in five-days on two-days off… Anyway, for a balanced perspective, check out this article by Change Recruitment. They list some of the potential cons, and highlight the fact that a real four-day week doesn’t mean squishing the same old 40 hours into less days – this will actually lead to decreased productivity. Ultimately, they do end up supporting the idea, but I honestly couldn’t find many people who didn’t.
In the quest for balance though, I continued my search.
And in this article listing companies that have tried the reduced hours approach, I found a critic. Treehouse, a provider of virtual classes teaching people to code, trialled the four-day week in 2015 but nixxed the policy in 2016. CEO Ryan Carson said ‘it created this lack of worth ethic in me that was fundamentally detrimental to the business and to our mission.’
An app for that
Flipboard: Flipboard allows you to curate your news feed, meaning that you only get sent the stories that are interesting to you. It gathers articles from around the web and arranges them into Smart Magazines for your personal perusal.
Word of the week
Affected by lethargy; sluggish and apathetic.
‘The heat was making the recruiter feel extremely lethargic. Working on their suntan with a tin of fruity cider seemed like the only activity they could reasonably be expected to complete but apparently their boss didn’t agree’.
Dog of the week
Ledley is a Border Collie but, in spite of being what is commonly considered the cleverest breed of dog, he once got so excited he started spinning around and whacked his head into the wall