Glasgow organisation introduces four-day working week

A Glasgow charity has announced it will move to a four-day working week to create a healthier work-life balance for staff.

YWCA Scotland said they will be reducing its working hours for its employees to "build back better after this current health and economic crisis", helping to improve wellbeing while reducing stress and anxiety.

Bosses said there will be no impact on salaries or current agreed annual leave allowance, with a flexible working policy to fit different lifestyles and needs.

YWCA Scotland's Status of Young Women in Scotland 2020-2021 report, published tomorrow, has found that there is a need for flexible working patterns to ensure a more accessible labour market for women at all stages of their careers.

The Scottish Government has announced that shorter working times will be in the remit of its Post-COVID-19 Futures Commission.

Four-day working week proven to reduce stress and anxiety
Four-day working week has been proven to improve productivity while reducing stress and anxiety -Credit:Getty

Research has found that transitioning to a four-day work week can improve productivity, overall job satisfaction and work-life balance.

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

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.

Sufficient free time away from work can also act as a protective factor against more long-term and severe problems such as exhaustion and burnout. Burnout is characterised by emotional exhaustion and loss of energy and is linked to low job satisfaction.

There are much stronger links reported between overwork and mental health for women. Over the last three years, reported levels of workplace stress have been around a third higher for women compared to men. Women in these two in age groups 25 to 34, and 35 to 44 have significantly higher rates of work-related stress, depression or anxiety.

YWCA Scotland said: "There are many reasons why we landed on this decision, not least our duty of care for every member of our team. The last 18 months have been some of the toughest and some of the most impressive for our wee team of 7.

"We delivered all our existing programmes and created new opportunities for feminists to connect, collaborate and create together while we were apart. We supported more women digitally than we ever had before, transferred our in-person programmes online and set up weekly team meetings to start each week with work chat and general banter.

"We’re practicing the same values and commitments to staff welfare and closing the gender gap in the workplace we hope to see replicated across all industries and sectors in Scotland. Modelling the possibilities for feminist ways of working and incorporating care into every aspect of our organisation’s infrastructure only works to strengthen the foundations upon which we build our communities of intersectional feminists."