For those making a livin’ with a 9-5 job, often Friday cannot come soon enough.
Since Covid, pushing through a typical 40-hour five-day working week has seemed even more of a challenge.
With the period-that-shall-not-be-named came a lot less time and money spent commuting, on childcare and meal deals and instead more time with family, friends and activities.
As a result, hybrid working has become the new norm for many organisations.
However, for some Dolly Parton’s, this does not go far enough.
The 4 Day Week campaign
A campaign calling for a shorter working week for the same pay has been garnering interest.
Named the self-explanatory 4 Day Week Campaign, it seeks to help firms and organisations change from a five-day working week to four-day for the same pay.
Different from the compressed working week with longer hours over less days, the new model proposes a 32-hour week over four days.
It advertises a better work-life balance with more time for admin, rest and leisure in exchange for employees maintaining a high-level of productivity.
And apparently makes people happier too.
But is this too good to be true?
Does a four-day week make people happier?
Communications firm Muckle Media has put this new model to the test.
While they sliced lunch to half-an-hour and cut back on meetings, Ms Agnew said productivity has never been higher.
She said: “Our productivity has increased and we measure productivity by the percentage of our hours that are billable to our client.
“We’re seeing that people are getting more out of the time they have, so it’s doing more with less really.”
The team’s happiness has also increased in that time from 23 in June to 53 in October measured on a scale of -100 to 100.
Communication and complexities
When asked if it was only suited to certain sectors, she added: “I struggle to think which sectors this wouldn’t work for really.
“We’re dealing with quite a fast moving topic of managing media…if we can make it work then I don’t see why others shouldn’t.”
For any company looking to try the scheme, the now-Edinburgh resident said it was important to focus on “productivity and effectiveness”.
Unsurprisingly, she added, communication played a big part: “As long as people’s roles and responsibilities are clear and you’re able to deliver a high standard of work, then I think it can only be a good thing.”
In New Zealand and Belgium, it has become a right to work four days a week.
Meanwhile in the UK, more than 60 companies trialed the model in 2022 with 90% opting to continue with it and more considering joining the fold.
While the scheme is almost simplistic in messaging, RGU Aberdeen Business School lecturer and researcher, Dr Susan Reid Elder, said it is more complex than it appears.
Speaking from her background as an HR manager, she understood how it sounds like a “very attractive proposition”.
“But the reality is there’s only a small segment of organisations where it can work well,” she said.
“For those organisations and others who want to try it and make it work, you need a wholesale change to your working practices.”
In 100 years, it might be the norm
Some of the main changes include looking at measuring productivity and performance.
Something which Dr Reid Elder said very few UK firms do and is hard to measure in some sectors.
While the move, if handled well, can improve employee recruitment and retention and reduce absence costs due to improved wellbeing, it also does not always suit every business model.
She said: “We’re working with 20th century working practices in a lot of places so I’m not saying it’s couldn’t work but organisations would really have to change the way that they’re working.”
While Dr Reid Elder said for some sectors the model seems impossible, many people thought the same nearly 100 years ago when the five-day working week was introduced.
Due to technology and AI, she added: “The chances are in the future we probably will work shorter weeks so we need to start thinking about it now.
“Now we all an accept a five-day working week and we think that’s the norm.
“So if we look back in another 100 years we’ll laughing at the fact we used to work a five-day working week.”
The old model ‘no longer fit for purpose’
Joe Ryle, director of the 4 Day Week Campaign, said now is the perfect time to implement the new model.
He said: “The four-day week with no loss of pay improves productivity, and is a win-win for both workers and employers.
“Workers are desperate for a better work-life balance after the Covid pandemic and now is the perfect time for companies to implement a four-day week.
“The 9-5, 5 day working week is outdated and no longer fit for purpose.
“Organisations should adopt the four-day week as a way of retaining staff, attracting new talent and embracing the future of work.”