Past event

Four-day working week – inevitability or conjecture?

The BPCC’s HR policy group and invited guests met at the offices of CBRE on 30 June to take a close look at the prospects for a four-day working week. After a welcome and introduction from Małgorzata Niewińska, head of workplace strategy & change management at CBRE, the BPCC’s chief advisor, Michael Dembinski, gave details of a six-month trial that has currently started in the UK, involving 200 firms. The idea is to pay employees 100% of their salaries for working 80% of the week, providing they commit to carrying out 100% of the work currently done in a five-day week. This is the ‘100-80-100’ model, promoted by 4 Day Week Global, an NGO. Critics, however, say that without a control group to test productivity against a control group, the pilot, which encompasses more than 3,000 employees across diverse business sectors, is more a demonstration than an accurate study.

Małgorzata Niewińska and Edyta Mika, associate director, workplace strategy & change management at CBRE, looked at the social and economic changes that are shaping current attitudes to the working week such as growing importance to employees of work-life balance. A mature and trusting approach between employers and employees is important for this to work, if so, it could be an answer to the ‘Great Resignation’, as few employees would want to go back to the old five-day working week after having experienced three-day weekends.

Aleksandra Tyszkiewicz, executive director, of Hays Poland, described three models – the ‘100-80-100’ model which is most popular among employees polled in a survey, the ‘80-80-80’ model, where employees take a 20% pay cut in exchange for a shorter working week and no change in productivity, and the ‘100-80-80’ – less productivity for the same pay over four working day, resulting in a 20% loss in productivity for the employer.

Łukasz Burakowski, managing associate, and Katarzyna Wieczorek, associate, at Linklaters considered the legal ramifications of introducing a four-day working week, how this looks in the context of remote work/working from home and hybrid models. Issues concerning equitable treatment of different groups of employees (those working four- and those working five days a week) were considered from the point of view of employment contracts. 

The panel discussion, moderated by Małgorzata Niewińska included all the speakers, and gave participants a chance to ask questions from the floor. There were many issues raised – how will this look in the public sector? Will most of the economy chose to take Friday off – or will Mondays also see fewer people in the office? How many people will want to take Wednesday off rather than having a longer weekend?  Edyta Mika quoted Parkinson’s Law, which states that work expands to fill the time allotted to it. Will the corollary prove to be true – that with less time to do the work, people work faster, smarter, with fewer coffee or cigarette breaks – or will they find themselves under stress to increase productivity by 20%?

After the discussion there was time for face-to-face networking, and for those who have not yet done so, a chance to see CBRE’s new offices, and the latest developments in activity-based workspace arrangement.

Events
2022-06-30, 09:00 am

Venue: CBRE Poland, WARSAW UNIT, 32 PIĘTRO Rondo Daszyńskiego 1, Warszawa
Organiser: CBRE, Linklaters, Hays, BPCC