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A Four-Day Working Week in the Construction Industry?

As conversations around burnout and work-life balance gain momentum, the construction industry considers adopting a 4-day working week.

The premise of a four-day working week has – up until now – been seen as an option typically afforded to those working in office-based roles who can flexibly tailor their responsibilities around longer days, leaving them with an extra 24 hours each week in which to spend with family, friends and on social activities.

With the conversations around burnout, steady work/life balances, and a need for the construction industry to stay competitive and attract workers, the concept of a four-day working week is starting to gain momentum.

Below, Jack Bristow, Managing Director of property funding and insurance firm J3 Advisory, shares his views on whether a 4-day working week could ever realistically work in the construction industry.

“I believe it’s essential to explore alternative approaches to enhance both the well-being of the workforce and the efficiency of operations within the construction industry. 2019 research on staggered shifts and days off by BAM Consult shed some light on the potential benefits of implementing a 4-day workweek in the industry. The findings revealed significant improvements in worker well-being, with a notable increase in overall morale and a decrease in the number of hours worked beyond contracts. These outcomes are promising, indicating that a shorter workweek could contribute to a more balanced and productive workforce.

“Having said that, while the benefits are compelling, we must also acknowledge the challenges associated with such a transition. The construction sector operates within strict timelines, and any changes to work schedules could potentially impact project delivery and client satisfaction. Additionally, concerns regarding worker fatigue and safety on construction sites require careful consideration. Moreover, there are financial implications to consider, as a reduction in workdays may affect revenue and exacerbate existing skills shortages within the industry.

“So, while the idea of a 4-day workweek presents appealing advantages, it’s imperative for us to approach this possible shift with meticulous planning and practicality. We need to carefully weigh the needs of our workforce against project deadlines, safety protocols, and financial considerations.”

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