Could a four-day work week improve road safety?

By 23rd February 2023No Comments

In the most extensive study of its kind so far, 61 UK organisations recently trialled a four-day working week – reducing employees’ hours by 20%, with no reduction in pay.

With overwhelmingly positive results, and 92% (56 out of 61) of the companies who took part in the study intending to continue with a four-day working week, it’s plausible that we’ll see the new weekly work schedule become more popular.

It’s time for fleet managers to ask – how might your drivers be affected by a four-day week? Let’s look at the key facts:

  • Of the 61 companies that participated, 56 are continuing with the four-day week (92%), with 18 confirming the policy is a permanent change
  • Employee wellbeing was one of the most obviously improved areas – 39% of employees were less stressed, and 71% had reduced levels of burnout at the end of the trial. Levels of anxiety, fatigue and sleep issues decreased, while mental and physical health both improved.
  • 54% of employees in the study reported that it was easier to balance work with household jobs – and were also more satisfied with their household finances, relationships and how their time was being managed.
  • 60% of employees found an increased ability to combine paid work with care responsibilities, and 62% reported it easier to combine work with social life.
  • Companies’ revenue stayed broadly the same over the trial period, rising by 1.4% on average.
  • When compared to a similar period from previous years, organisations reported revenue increases of 35% on average.
  • The number of staff leaving participating companies decreased significantly, dropping by 57% over the trial period.
  • Absenteeism (sick and personal days per employee) fell from a reported 2.0 to just 0.7 (a 65% reduction).

What does this mean for business drivers?

One of the key areas that improved as a consequence of the four-day week was employee wellbeing. We’ve previously reported on the profound impact on driver safety that wellbeing can have, including in our Whitepaper: Driving for work – the importance of wellbeing.

To summarize: organisations that care about their employees’ wellbeing, and especially those that establish a culture that prioritises safety in general, with wellbeing as a crucial piece of that puzzle, stand to elevate their fleet safety to a level far above organisations that treat employee safety as an area in which they must do just enough – often the bare minimum.

On average, drivers who are less stressed, have had a good night’s sleep, have a manageable workload, and have a good work/life balance, are likely to be safer on the road.

Could a change to your company’s working patterns have a positive impact on staff wellbeing, and result in wider benefits such as improved driver safety?

What about fleets that must operate 5 or more days per week?

Not all of the organisations in the pilot study stuck to a rigid schedule like the typical “Fridays off” model. Plenty adopted approaches that allowed them to avoid downtime: a staggered approach, with employees taking alternating days off, therefore ensuring no lack of coverage.

Annular, decentralised and conditional models were also used by certain organisations. Read more.

Read the study from Cambridge University

For far more detail, read the summary from Cambridge University, or the full report.

To learn more about how IAM RoadSmart can help you enhance your fleet, contact us.

Gary Bates

Author Gary Bates

More posts by Gary Bates

Leave a Reply