It is interesting to read about the four-day working week trial that has launched here in the UK. If you have not seen the news, this trial involves over 3,000 staff at 70 companies working a four day week but remaining on full pay with a commitment to maintaining 100% productivity.
Presumably the companies taking part all had a good ‘productivity’ experience of their staff working from home throughout the pandemic and are looking at this trial as an opportunity to redress the work life balance of staff, which is to be commended.
However, what will this do to city centre businesses? As we all know, many ancillary support & hospitality businesses were hit during lockdown and are now trying to recover from that downturn. If this trial is successful and becomes part of the ‘new normal’ those businesses are likely to see reduced footfall and a further hit to revenues at a crucial time in their recovery whilst it also deals with cost of living impact. City centres may well become ghost towns on the day that workers prefer to be at home – which will likely be either Monday or Friday.
Landlords will also be impacted from this trial as tenants continue to review the space they require going forward if the 4 day working week extends beyond a trial. We will have to wait and see what effect this trial has on productivity for the participating companies, and we have all seen the criticisms of organisations – government departments in particular – where productivity is down due to home working. Will being in the office four days a week improve productivity over WFH 5 days a week? Only time will tell, but we are concerned for the fortunes of those businesses who will need to achieve 5 day turnover in just 4 days.
As we have said before, any business that is struggling needs to act decisively and seek independent professional advice and that is why we are always available for an initial zero cost assessment which can be arranged by contacting Alistair Dickson at SKSi.