A third of Scottish businesses are expected to adopt a 4-day working week within the next ten years, according to a survey undertaken by the CIPD.

The Chartered Institute of Personal Development found that 34% of the businesses surveyed planned to adopt a 4-day working week by the 2030s.

The CIPD Scotland's senior public policy advisor, Marek Zemanik, said: "Some businesses will find such a move easier than others depending on their size and sector.

“The major sticking point is the need to increase productivity by 25% to make up for the output lost from fewer days of work. This came through in our findings with a majority of employers saying they would need to work smarter and adopt new technology in order to reduce working hours without cutting pay.”

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Of the 34% surveyed, most said they would adopt the new working week so long as they were able to improve their efficiency.

Mr. Zemanik added: “Businesses should continue to listen to their workforce, look at the evidence and consider how they can pilot new ways of working and achieve the win-win for staff of working fewer hours without losing pay.”

4-day working week trials 

Trials for the 4-day working week are taking place across the country with the Scottish Government planning on implementing trials of the proposal next year.

In the rest of the UK, over 3000 businesses are taking part in a national pilot supported by Autonomy, a think tank that studies proposals like universal basic income and the 4-day working week.

'The rationale behind the move is a positive one' says Zemanik

The National: Canva 'Benefits' of a 4-day working weekCanva 'Benefits' of a 4-day working week (Image: Canva)

So far, most employers with a reduced week report increased employee happiness, and improved recruitment, and retention.

Almost half report that productivity has improved, while 86% said they were "likely" or "extremely likely" to consider maintaining the policy going forward.

Advise.Scot, a registered charity in Glasgow offering free financial advice, has a 4-day working week.

The organisation said it was able to lower turnover and improve productivity with the approach.

It added that this was a “direct result of increases in employee wellbeing”.

Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of Advice Direct Scotland, said: “This new analysis from the CIPD shows that more employers are beginning to recognise the benefits of a four-day week.

“Employers stand to gain significantly from the implementation of the shorter week given the clear evidence of increased employee productivity and employee wellbeing."
Advice Direct Scotland has operated a four-day working week for all staff since September 2018.

More: https://t.co/PsC9nmF2SI@Four_day_week #employment pic.twitter.com/oOsUyBkXfg

Advice Direct Scotland’s report found that the rate of workers leaving the organisation fell by around a third and all departments reported a substantial increase in output.

Mr Zemanik said: “The increase in interest in the four-day working week is understandable. The rationale behind the move is a positive one – to give people more leisure time and improve their wellbeing while increasing their productivity to compensate.

“The current trials, as well as the future trials planned by the Scottish Government, are a welcome attempt to plug the evidence gap, help provide insights for other employers that would like to make the shift to the four-day week and make a stronger case for the benefits.”