Africa Business South Africa

Good news for 4-day work week in South Africa

Data from a four-day workweek trial in the UK showed incredibly positive results, which should be welcomed by the South African businesses who are soon set to test a four-day workweek.

As reported on 702, the NPO 4 Day Week Global trial was conducted by the research group Autonomy, Boston College, and the University of Cambridge. The study involved 61 companies and 2,900 employees who volunteered to shorten the workweek from June to December 2022.

Most companies reported no loss of earnings, with some even reporting growth.

“Overall productivity and profitability amongst the 61 were either unchanged or up by as much as 20%,” 702’s Adam Gilchrist said.

Most companies said they would continue the experiment, with only three stopping it and another two still deliberating.

The data from the experiment showed a 40% decrease in stress, a 75% decline in burnout, fewer sick days, and an improved work-life balance.

The positive data from the study is good news for the 27 South African companies that will take part in a four-day workweek trial from 1 March 2023. Some of the companies involved in the trial specialise in IT, events planning, tax, marketing, and property development

500 South Africans will participate in the trial to improve workplace productivity, well-being, talent attraction and talent retention, said Karen Lowe, Director of 4 Day Week SA.

A four-day workweek is based on the 100-80-100 model developed by 4 Day Week Global. The model states that pay must remain at 100% for employees who work 80% of the time in exchange for a commitment to delivering 100% of the output.

Most of the companies in the pilot said that employee well-being is one of their highest priorities while still fostering a culture of productivity.

“Everyone will win. A happy team creates great work, and great work leads to happy clients,” said 2Stories chief content officer Anelde Greeff. 

However, not all organisations support the four-day workweek.

Abigail Butcher from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr said that feedback around the change had been mixed, as the fact that productivity must remain the same over a shorter period could lead to burnout.

Kirk Kruger from South African Reward Association (SARA) said that most businesses in South Africa would likely not adopt the four-day workweek permanently, as it is only viable for niche organisations, such as smaller and medium-sized technology companies.

Despite the reservations, the data from the UK study makes a strong case for the four-day week.

Source : Business Tech