Three reasons why you should follow a four-day week

It's hard to believe that there's still taboo around mental health in the workplace, and it's even harder to believe that only a handful of companies have realised that unhappy, tired and under-appreciated staff aren't going to make you any money.

A four-day week could help your work/life balance, decrease stress and increase your self-worth, argues Steph Palmer
A four-day week could help your work/life balance, decrease stress and increase your self-worth, argues Steph Palmer

The four-day week is something that has been humming away in the background of conversation for a while now but, I want to bring its benefits to the forefront.

I have been working flexibly for a year, and whilst it presents a few minor challenges, the effect it has had on my mental wellbeing and sense of self is worth shouting about.

1. Work/life balance

Whilst this point may seem to be the most obvious, it is definitely the most important. Many employees are parents who want to be able to fit their work around life, not the other way around. As many working parents may know, or have perhaps experienced, there seems to be a (ridiculous) unwritten rule that you have to choose between work and family - why can’t you be allowed to work flexibly and have both?

Even for those without children, like me, the work/life balance is still just as important.

A four-day week allows for more flexibility around things like doctors’ appointments, birthdays, holidays, experiences and other important occasions. I get to enjoy life more outside of the 9-5 routine and I find it much easier to switch off.

2. Lowering stress

Downtime outside of the 9-5 allows you to live a much fuller life and look after your mental health. It’s too often that I sit down with friends who talk about their all-consuming jobs, joking that they might as well stop paying rent because they live in the office and then a few months later, have had to take time off because they’ve burned the candle at both ends.

This ingrained work culture of long days, late nights and no sleep can only lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and stress.

Whilst not a cure for workplace-related stress, the four-day working week has been found to alleviate these issues; a four day working week may not only boost productivity, but could reduce the number of sick days taken by seven per cent in two months.

3. Self-worth

Once a week I work from home, an extra addition to our office flexi scheme and one that I think is a huge personal benefit. It allows me to take charge of my own planning, scheduling and implementing, granting me an overwhelming sense of independence and self-worth.

As we continue to break down these barriers around mental health in the workplace, I expect we will see more companies jumping on the flexible working bandwagon, because a company with happy employees can only flourish.

Steph Palmer is an account manager at Carnsight Communications

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