Benefits of a 4 Day Work Week in Construction

13 June 2019

Introduced in the UK in 1929, the weekend has since become one of the most looked forward events in corporate life. TGIF, Happy Hour and other celebratory occurrences have only highlighted how little enjoyment is felt during a typical work week. The UK is especially dedicated to their work, averaging 43 hours a week, the highest amount in the EU. No wonder that over the past few months the talks about 4-day work weeks have made the rounds.

Too good to be true? Maybe. The science behind the idea is that giving workers more time to recharge increases productivity and decreases the wasted hours during a normal 5-day working week. With a significant number of self-employed sub-contractors working on the larger scale projects, it is not unusual to end up working over 48 hours a week, however, that does not need to be the case. Lack of accountability and loss of oversight are some of the main reason hours can get wasted and productivity drops.

The 4-day work week model has already been implemented in offices around England and Ireland. The TUC (Trade Union Congress) has campaigned for a shorter week for months now. They believe that thanks to new technological developments there is no need to spend 5 days a week in an office if the work can be streamlined. They base their argument on the 4-day work week study conducted in New Zealand which demonstrated that out of the 240 employees involved, 24% felt they could successfully balance their work and personal lives and that overall stress levels decreased by 7%.

Companies such as Bauman Lyons (Architecture) and Arc Landscape Design and Planning Ltd both implemented a 4-day work week for their employees. Having longer weekends allowed the later company to volunteer and look after dependent family members.

Bauman Lyons’ employees logged their experience over the 3-month trial which you can read here. They concluded that although at first, they were unsure what to do with their extra day, they soon found ways of occupying themselves with family, DIY projects and life administration. They also enjoyed the productivity increase and meeting decrease the 4-day week led to. In the end, they decided to extend the trial for another 3 months.

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