How to improve mental health in the workplace with a four-day week

The importance of mental health cannot be understated. With good mental health comes productivity, creativity and an all-round improvement at work – making it in an employer’s best interest to be sure their staff arrive at work in a comfortable headspace. Introducing the four-day week to your workplace is an excellent way of making this a reality.

Sarah Kauter, MD of VerriBerri PR and Marketing and winner of Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2018, has nothing but good things to say about a four-day working week. She has found multiple benefits in this new way of working, both for her and her employees. The VerriBerri marketing team have been comfortably working under the regime of the four-day week for well over a year now, but the undeniable convenience found in this shorter working week was initially unclear. “We were looking for ways to help the work-life balance of the team,” writes Sarah. “After a lot of research, we decided to trial it for six weeks to make sure it was sustainable long-term, and it was!”

The implementation of a long-term system that continually provides opportunities for the improvement of employee well-being – rather than a one-off solution to poor morale – is certainly a worthwhile inclusion to your business. Sarah is more than confident that the four-day working week has benefited her business, as she states: “The four-day work week is absolutely an asset to VerriBerri. Our clients benefit from longer opening hours as everyone now works 8-6 on the days that they are in. Additionally, as the team has an extra day off, they are more proactive on the days they are in the office.”

The simple addition of one extra day off provides each staff member with the chance to enjoy some self-care, which will reflect positively on their work, as well as their mental health. Whether they’re working on their passion, spending time with family, or simply catching up on their favourite shows, this extra day off serves as a rejuvenating opportunity to work on and refresh themselves.

Anybody can find their own personal benefits in the freedom of a four-day working week, but it is perhaps most advantageous to working parents. Aside from the client benefits, and mental rejuvenation she is able to offer her employees, Sarah has found the four-day week has helped with her home life: “On the weekday I now have off, I’m able to carry out all the mundane chores – like cleaning and shopping – whilst the girls are at school. With all that done by the end of the week, I’m able to enjoy my time with them at the weekend.”

Sarah is quick to recommend the four-day working week to other businesses as she, and the rest of the VerriBerri team, are yet to see any downsides of making this transition. Whilst there are of course things to consider before making this change – how it will affect the scheduling of annual leave, for example – the benefits of this transition will be quick to make themselves known. With other working parents in mind, Sarah offers the following insight: “If you are able to carry out your working week in less than five days, you will see the advantages immediately. It’s a huge benefit to me from a personal perspective, and my children enjoy spending more quality time with me, as I do with them.”

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