Four-day work week FMCG

The four day week, will it work in FMCG?

The concept of a four-day work week in FMCG is not entirely new but it has gained renewed interest and debate in recent years.  

The four-day work week in FMCG has emerged as a solution to work life balance while maintaining productivity. It represents a significant shift from traditional working patterns by challenging the norm of the five-day, 40-hour work week that has been standard since the early 20th century. 

In the FMCG industry, the adoption of a four-day work week has been met with both interest and scepticism. The FMCG sector prioritises operational efficiency and rapid response to market demands, which often means flexible and extended work hours. The prospect of compressing work hours into a shorter week has raised questions about feasibility and impact on productivity. 

However, the evolving landscape of work and emerging trends in employee wellbeing and work-life balance have brought this conversation into FMCG circles. As other industries begin to experiment with and embrace a four-day work week, the FMCG sector is grappling with its potential implications. Will this model enhance productivity and employee satisfaction, or will it compromise the operational rigor that is the backbone of the industry? 

In an attempt to answer this question, we look into the history of the four-day work week, its reception in the FMCG industry and the potential for its implementation.  


The four-day work week means employees working for four days while maintaining the same pay and productivity levels as a traditional five-day week.  

This model has been tested in various industries in the UK, with 61 companies and around 2,900 workers participating in a large-scale trial from June to December 2022. The results were overwhelmingly positive, showing improvements in employee wellbeing, work-life balance and even business metrics including revenue and staff retention​​. 


How such a change could positively impact the FMCG sector, a domain where efficiency and rapid response are key?  

From enhancing employee wellbeing to driving innovation and productivity, the potential advantages of a shorter work week in FMCG are varied. Results from other industries suggest this bold move could not only redefine work-life balance but also potentially catalyse a new era of operational excellence and employee engagement within the industry. 

Enhanced Employee Well-being and Productivity 

FMCG companies could see significant benefits in terms of employee wellbeing. Reduced burnout, stress and improved mental health could lead to a more engaged and productive workforce, which is crucial in the high-demand FMCG industry​​. 

Attraction and Retention of Talent  

Offering a four-day work week will make FMCG companies more attractive to top talent and help them stand out in a competitive job market. Additionally, this could aid in employee retention, reducing turnover costs and maintaining a skilled workforce​​. 


While the prospect of a four-day work week in the FMCG sector offers intriguing benefits, it also clearly presents a set of unique challenges and considerations. 

From maintaining high levels of operational efficiency to addressing condensed workloads, how will these challenges impact the practical implementation of a shortened work week? Understanding these factors is crucial for FMCG businesses to navigate the transition effectively and ensure the move towards a more flexible working model doesn’t compromise the industry’s hallmark of rapid responsiveness and consistent product delivery. 

Maintaining Operational Efficiency 

One of the critical challenges in the FMCG industry will be maintaining efficiency and meeting consumer demand with a reduced working week. Companies would need to find ways to balance operational needs with employee schedules, possibly requiring additional staffing or shifts​​. 

Potential Stress and Workload Management 

While a shorter work week could lead to better work-life balance, it may also create stress due to condensed workloads. Ensuring that productivity does not drop while managing the intensity of work is crucial for the success of this model in FMCG​​. 


As we look ahead, the four-day week in FMCG remains a blend of cautious optimism and practical considerations. It’s unlikely the industry will embrace this model across the board, although we may see a more flexible, hybrid approach where certain roles or departments adopt a four-day schedule. 

In other industries, especially those less bound by continuous production cycles or physical presence, the adoption of a four-day work week might become more prevalent. Sectors such as technology, professional services and creative industries are already showing a greater propensity towards flexible models. 

For FMCG businesses contemplating a transition to a four-day work week, the decision will require strategic planning and an in-depth understanding of both the opportunities and challenges it presents. This is where Signature’s expertise become invaluable. We specialise in helping businesses build the right teams for the right jobs, be it for a traditional five-day work week or an innovative four-day model.  

Our deep insights into the FMCG sector enable us to guide companies in navigating these new work models, ensuring they stay competitive while fostering a work environment that is both productive and fulfilling for their employees. 

If we are to see the adoption of a four-day work week in the FMCG industry and beyond, it’s going to be a gradual and varied process, influenced by specific sector dynamics and individual company strategies. As the work landscape continues to evolve, businesses that adapt and consider innovative work models while focusing on efficiency and employee wellbeing are likely to stay ahead. 

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