The Coronavirus has seen businesses shifting their operational models drastically when compared to practices which have generally remained unchanged for decades upon decades. Lockdown measures and other restrictions aimed at curbing viral spread have pushed businesses to cut salaries and reduce working weeks. However, such seemingly restrictive measures may have opened the door to new methods of operation which are beneficial to both employers and employees, concludes Autonomy think thank through its most recent study.

Conducting the analysis based on data of around 50,000 UK firms, Autonomy concludes that implementing four-day weeks may actually prove affordable to most businesses. Several companies have already adopted this measure by chance due to the slowdown effect of the pandemic restrictions, and whilst this has often been carried out simultaneously with pay cuts, the study concludes that this does not necessarily have to be the case.

Any losses sustained by reducing working hours but retaining the same pay packages could be recouped by slight price increases, reduced labour costs, and more interestingly, thanks to higher productivity resulting from a relatively happier and more motivated workforce.

Whilst the study suggests that the public sector considers adopting such a model for a tactful recovery from the economic slump experienced in 2020, private organisations have shown their support for the scheme. Autonomy concludes that it effectively should not affect turnover if implemented correctly and intelligently, whilst it would also provide tremendous benefits to employees seeking a better work-leisure balance.

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