In a notable shift from modern workplace trends, Morrisons, the UK supermarket giant, has abandoned its four-day working week at its Bradford head office, reverting to a more conventional schedule. The decision comes after staff expressed dissatisfaction with the requirement to work weekends.
Introduced in 2020, the four-day week was part of Morrisons' innovative approach to work-life balance, reducing staff hours from 40 to 37.5 per week without a pay cut. However, this arrangement necessitated employees working 13 Saturdays annually, a stipulation that met with considerable resistance.
Responding to employee feedback, Morrisons has now adjusted its working week to four and a half days, Monday to Friday, maintaining the 37.5-hour week. The change, affecting 2,000 head office staff, does not impact in-store colleagues.
The move by Morrisons highlights the complexities of implementing flexible working arrangements in large organisations. While the four-day week has been championed by campaigns like the 4 Day Week Campaign for its potential to reduce burnout and increase worker satisfaction, practical challenges remain, particularly in customer-facing industries like retail.
Joe Ryle, director of the 4 Day Week Campaign, acknowledged Morrisons' initial effort but noted that Saturday work was unpopular and not in line with the true spirit of a four-day week. He welcomed the reduction in hours as a positive step.
This development in Morrisons' workplace strategy comes as other companies, including rival Asda, explore similar flexible working models. The trend towards a four-day week gained momentum following a successful 2022 trial involving 61 UK companies, with the majority opting to continue the practice.
Morrisons' decision reflects a balancing act between innovative work models and the practical needs of a business, especially in sectors where weekend service is essential. It underscores the ongoing debate about the future of work and the search for models that benefit both employees and employers.