Undoubtedly one of the greatest fears, and most pervasive myths around four day week working is that it will result in a drop in salary. The idea of a 20% deduction in salary is simply not viable for most people, and some will be quick to interpret a four day week as four day pay. Fortunately, this is not the case in the majority of flexiwork positions, which continue to provide a full-time salary despite the benefits of being flexible.
How does full-time flexi actually work?
This will come down to whether the four day week position is based on a 40 or 30 hour working week; essentially the difference between part-time and full flexi. Whilst part-time working has been around for a long time, the model which most benefits employees is clearly the full flexi option with full salary and less office time. This can work in a number of ways, from four longer working days and an additional day-off, to home-based working days combined with office working days. Other formulations which may appeal to parents would be the split day, with working during the morning and several hours off during the afternoon and reconnection from home in the evening. Each of these flexiwork formulations are based on maintaining a full-time salary which disposes of the myth that the inclusion of flexibility in the workplace will necessarily come at a financial cost.
Of course, the alternative to paid flexibility would be the flexiweek which offers simply a four day salary. Although this is financially less appealing to those looking for a full-time salary, for those looking for work somewhere between full-time and part-time, it provides a great option. The 32 hour week is hugely appealing if time is your major concern. Standard working days on a four-day basis provides a livable salary and the benefits of not incorporating longer days to compensate. Three-day weekend partygoers and those with young children can benefit from managing their time more flexibly. Throw in a home-based working day during the four day week and your job suddenly becomes a truly appealing lifestyle.
Employers actually gain from you taking an extra day off or working from home Employers already know that their staff work more productively with a shorter working week and adapting to make that a reality also provides financial benefits beyond this. Many companies rotating their four day week workforce allows them to rent smaller, more practical office spaces. Likewise, hot-desks have replaced permanent desks for companies who utilise the flexi option of home-based work days. The knock-on effects of having fewer staff in a smaller office include a reduction in resources and overheads, as well as cutting the individual costs of those who receive company travel benefits for their daily commute. From an ethical perspective we gain a lot more than simply more profitable companies with the reduction in working days and office attendance. The reduction in travel leading to lower carbon footprints for employees and employers is a standalone heavyweight argument for why flexi working should be adopted. Improved mental health, more family time, fewer work-related health problems and the positive effect on the gender pay gap are also compelling reasons for companies to adopt a flexible work schedule.