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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Another Scots charity moves to four-day working week

 

Pandemic has proven flexible working is the way forward and improves morale, productivity and mental health

YWCA Scotland is the latest third sector employer to move to a four day week.

The charity made the move saying it believes the shorter working week is more productive and more supportive for its workers.

It comes as lockdown restrictions ease and staff begin returning to their workplaces.

Many workers save an average of 10 unpaid hours a week from their commute working from home as well as saving hours getting ready to go into work.

Some 80% office-based third sector employees have spent the last 18 months home working.

The women’s organisation said research clearly demonstrates that transition to a four-day working week can improve productivity, overall job satisfaction and work-life balance.

It said an in-depth examination of the relationship and productivity conducted by Stanford University revealed a clear correlation between the hours worked and productivity.

The results clearly demonstrated that overworked employees are less productive than those working shorter hours. 

“Employees’ productivity relies not just on the number of hours put in, but on the wellbeing, fatigue levels and overall health of the employee,” YWCA said in a statement.

“Studies show that shorter working weeks can mean fewer sick absences, fewer in-work accidents and mistakes, and higher motivation on the job, amongst other outcomes.”

Gender equity was also cited as a factor by the charity.

“Research using large, nationally representative datasets from Australia, Germany and the UK have consistently shown the negative impacts of overwork are more pronounced for women,” it said. 

“Regardless of the hours spent in employment, or burden of unpaid labour, the feeling of time pressure is most strongly associated with poorer mental health for women.”

YWCA joins other Scots charities looking for a break to the five day routine.

Advice Direct Scotland brought in a four day week in 2018 and says it has had remarkable results.

Its employees receive the same pay but work for a day less each week.

The charity – which runs Scotland’s national advice service – says productivity and staff morale have improved, with absenteeism down by around 75%, and no reduction in the service offered.

And Dundee-based social enterprise The Circle introduced a four-day working week for its staff team in a bid to increase work/life balance.

According to founder Kirsty Thomson, the decision to reduce the number of working days for the team has come after seeing what they have been able to achieve during the lockdown period.  

“When we closed temporarily in March, we had to make a lot of changes to the way we work. We still managed to achieve so much during that period with many staff of furlough and limitations on what we could deliver,” she said.

 

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