With Stress Awareness Month having passed in April, many business leaders will now have their team’s wellbeing at the forefront of their minds, outlines Jordi Romero.

And with more companies than ever continuing to offer hybrid working arrangements, newer concepts to improve work-life balance, such as the four-day working week, no longer seem that far-fetched.

The result of the recent UK trial of the four-day working week highlighted the numerous benefits new working models can provide. The trial, involving 61 companies and more than 2,000 employees, demonstrated shifts in the working week pattern can lead to happier employees as well as increased productivity.

It is positive to see more employers seriously consider new working models as they look for ways to better support the wellbeing of their teams. While not right for every company, the four-day working week trial highlighted that just by taking a more innovative and open-minded approach, companies can have a happier, more productive workforce while boosting their competitiveness.

However, it is key that companies searching for any type of new working model do so carefully and strategically while ensuring the right tools are in place to provide the support needed. Before weighing up whether a new working model is the right move for an organisation, business managers must adapt internal processes first to ensure their approach is balanced and considered.

Below are top considerations business leaders should take into account to ensure the implementation of a new working model is successful and fair, while perks such as higher wellbeing levels and better staff retention are kept that way long term.

Empowerment with the right technology

Over the past few years, digital transformation has accelerated, and technological advancements have made working practices more efficient all around. This has opened the floodgates to greater flexibility, with modern working patterns such as hybrid working now very much the mainstream. But as the working week structure continues to evolve, it’s key that companies have the right technological tools in place to ensure a smooth and seamless transition.

Work management tools, cloud-based task managers, and digital HR platforms are all examples of technology that can automate time-consuming tasks. These tools not only allow companies to reduce their administrative burdens, but also re-focus resources on other areas of the business, saving on valuable time and money – all while empowering their staff to thrive at what they do. Business should take time to ensure that, in this ever-expanding landscape of new tools and apps, they are investing in the right technology with the specific tools tailored to their needs.

Equity versus equality

Different parts of the business will be impacted in different ways by a working model. For instance, some functions and specific roles, such as those involving manual labour, may be unable to adopt the new working model with the same ease and grace as others. What’s more, larger businesses often develop subcultures across different departments.

Business leaders must understand that a one-size-fits-all approach will not necessarily work for all departments equally. Instead, they should consider the needs of each department and job function, as well as what the long-term implications of the change will be.

And rather than insisting on a uniform change, departments should be allowed to flexibly adapt to a degree they see fit. This extra freedom means policies can be tailored against important mitigating factors such as industry, organisational challenges, departmental structures, and work culture.

One step at a time

The aim of any new working model should be to relieve stress rather than add more. Rather than rushing to implement a new working structure, businesses need to ensure that they have the right infrastructure in place internally before considering a dramatic change.

For instance, startups and professional firms in particular can have unique challenges that would make a major workplace cultural shift more difficult. These business leaders need to be extra cautious and leave no stone unturned when checking if all the right tools are in place.

Certain businesses may find a gradual approach more helpful. They may, for instance, first adopt a more flexible working policy to ease staff in as well as more easily identify potential challenges in the business. Once the trial period has taken place, it becomes easier to implement a more strategic, tailored approach that will have all your employers enthusiastic about the change.


Jordi Romero is founder and CEO at Factorial.