4-day working week – is this the future?

In June this year, 70 UK companies and over 3,000 workers began working a four-day week, with no reduction in pay. This is the biggest four-day working week pilot ever undertaken. The participating firms are trialling a four-day working week for a period of 6 months. The pilot is based on what is called the 100:80:100 model – 100% pay, for 80% of the time, in exchange for employees committing to maintaining 100% productivity.

Firms from various industries participate in the pilot, including banking, media, hospitality and business services.

The organisers of the pilot are working alongside researchers from leading universities to measure the impact on productivity and the well-being of staff. The research team will also analyse how the pilot impacts the environment and factors such as gender equality, D&I, etc. The basis of the four-day working week pilot is that a lot of activity, particularly in office environments, is not productive.

As such, most firms should be able to “trim the fat” without harming productivity. The key is to equip staff members with the training and tools to work in a more focused and effective manner. 

Our working patterns and the focus that we all give to our work-life balance have shifted quite considerably since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sticking to a rigid, outdated, time-based system doesn’t make sense in most modern businesses. Particularly so, given that people have technology and tools that enable them to multitask more effectively than ever before.

Businesses are now adopting a more flexible approach to work with a focus on productivity rather than “presenteeism”. If the employees in the companies involved in this vast pilot become healthier, happier and more productive, then perhaps the UK could be on the cusp of a significant change in the way most people work.

The concept may not suit everyone and every type of business, but it could help firms to attract new recruits in the current hyper-competitive market for talent. There are benefits for businesses, too – after all, more productive team members are more profitable. In addition, costs could be cut if the office only has to open 4 days per week.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Some guidelines for building a diverse and inclusive business.

The first step is to understand where you are in terms of workplace diversity and inclusion. Depending on the size of your firm, it may be helpful to run a staff survey – this will help you gain some insights into how diverse and inclusive your team feel the firm is at present.

Take time to analyse the diversity of your current team. Consider past employees as well. Why did they leave? Could the firm have been more inclusive, and if so, would they have stayed?

Once you have mapped out where you are, you can create objectives around where you want to be in the future. Do you have adequate policies in place? To ensure that diversity and inclusion are not just lip service, you need to make an inclusive culture part of the fabric of your business.

Take a top-down approach. Lead by example and ensure your firm’s leadership team is diverse and inclusive. This sets the tone for the entire business. The leadership team should lead the way in creating a business that embraces a more diverse and inclusive culture.

Increasing the depth of your talent pool is key to building a more diverse and inclusive organisation. Take a look at your current recruitment processes. Could you improve the diversity of your workforce by adopting more inclusive approaches to hiring?

Perhaps you could invest in some unconscious bias training to help your recruitment team overcome any biases that dictate the type of people they hire.

Attracting, hiring and retaining a diverse mix of talented people are all crucial steps in building a more diverse and inclusive business. However, it doesn’t stop there. You need to create career development opportunities as well. Leadership teams in businesses across most sectors often lack diversity, with non-white males occupying only a small percentage of senior roles. Achieving gender and racial equality in top-level leadership roles starts with making diversity and inclusion a business priority, especially when it comes to career advancement opportunities.

The management team should endeavour to create a sense of belonging for everyone in the firm. For each individual to bring their best version to work each day, a sense of belonging must first be established. Having a connection to a firm or a group of people results in greater engagement, productivity and creativity. The management team needs to communicate and be empathetic. As the battle for talent frustrates businesses, employees are increasingly interested in working for firms whose diversity and inclusion initiatives align with their values. If your firm can set the tone and stand out as a diverse and inclusive employer, attracting talented team members should become more manageable.


A simple payments solution for small businesses.

SumUp is a Point Of Sale (POS) system designed for smaller businesses. Startups and small, owner-managed businesses typically don’t have large budgets to invest in expensive tills and payment systems. However, like all businesses, they need to receive payment for their products or services. SumUp is one of a number of POS system providers that have launched in recent years, with services designed to cater to this particular market segment.

SumUp has become very popular, and chances are you have tapped your debit card, credit card or device on one of SumUp’s distinctive white plastic contactless payment cubes.

SumUp has been designed to be simple and has no fixed costs or monthly fees. They work on a pay-per-use basis and charge 1.69% per transaction. Their devices use WiFi and mobile data connections to take payments. They have become quite popular with taxi drivers who want to accept card payments.

The devices accept cards, contactless, chip and pin, Apple and Google Pay.

The SumUp system starts with the SumUp Air device, which costs just £29. This connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet. If your requirements are more advanced, SumUp offers the Solo for £99, a standalone device with a built-in data SIM card.

SumUp also offers its 3G and Printer system with a built-in data SIM card and prints receipts to paper till rolls. The printer also functions as a charging base. The data plan is free, and the device also works with WiFi. This unit is more expensive at £149.

SumUp offers some pretty useful functionality. For example, it can allow you to send text payment links, send invoices, key payments into a virtual terminal or accept all major credit and debit cards using the hardware.

SumUp also offers some easy-to-use software as part of the package. Users can access a dashboard online from a computer or via a mobile app. If you have multiple employees, they can be set up on the system with different profiles, specific logins, access rights, etc.

SumUp is a pretty stripped-down system geared for small and start-up businesses. It won’t satisfy the needs of larger businesses, but if basic payment functionality is all you need, it’s an excellent option to consider.


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