The dawn of the four-day week

woman-with-laptopThere’s no one quite as resourceful as the office worker playing the ‘I’m going to be the last to leave to impress the boss’ game.

Whether it’s browsing Facebook, calling your mum in your poshest phone voice or re-organising your paper clips, at some time or another we’ve all probably found a reason to stay late, thinking it will earn us brownie points. But according to an article on the BBC website, chances are 21st Century bosses will already be long gone and have their feet up in front of the telly.

This is because attitudes are changing and flexible working is no longer seen as an inconvenience but a motivating factor in employee engagement and retention.

Marks and Spencer have just employed a new style director to transform their image, but she’ll only be working two days a week. Similarly, Nicola Mendelsohn has been hired by Facebook to head up their Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. She negotiated a four day working week so that she could spend quality time with her family (and a pretty hefty pay packet to match).

However, other companies have bucked this trend with Yahoo infamously banning all remote working. A stipulation that was met with universal outcry; a technology company implementing something so archaic seemed at odds with the rest of the modern world.

Yahoo aside, many companies recognise that employees have lives outside of work, whether that includes children, elderly or sick relatives, or long commutes. And many believe that a good work/life balance leads to enhanced creativity, which in turn benefits the business.

Time will tell if this new way of thinking pays off and part-time workers are deemed an equal asset to a company with as much opportunity for promotion as full time staff. But until then, you can stop burning the midnight oil and make it home in time to tuck your kids up in bed. Or to get a pint before last orders – the choice, it seems, is yours.