By Victoria Masterson

A FOUR-DAY week would be good for the economy, for staff wellbeing and for businesses, according to Lord Willie Haughey, the Scottish entrepreneur and Labour peer.

“It’s 100% a great idea,” he said on the Go Radio Business Show with Hunter & Haughey.

“I’ve been talking about it for 20 years. I think if we can help get the work-rest balance right; if we had staff working for four days a week and we elongated the weekend to a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I think it’d be great for the economy and great for the wellbeing of the staff.”

Lockdown had also demonstrated that working from home could be more productive. Lord Haughey, the owner of Glasgow-based facilities company, City Facilities Management Holdings, said he had seen this in his own business.

“Our productivity actually is up,” he said. “We don’t have any Monday morning clubbers. Our sickness rates have been much better. And our clients think that our service is better. Obviously, our engineers and our emergency guys in the street, will not be able to work four days a week. But certainly for the back office staff and anyone else who is not on an emergency call, I certainly think that a four-day week is a great idea.”

But Sir Tom Hunter, the entrepreneur and philanthropist, was not fully convinced. “I think it’s challenging for an employer,” he said. “It depends on the sector. It’s not going to be a Monday to Friday in the office, that’s for sure. But, could it go to a four-day week? That’s a bit more challenging for me. I’m all for the staff now choosing between office [and home]. There needs to be one day, maybe two days, where the human interaction happens. But we’re not typical. My daughter’s just got a new job and she’s going back to London now. And she can’t wait to get back into the office, because she’s young, and she needs to interact with people. Us old fogies, we’re quite happy sitting at home, getting cups of tea.”

Spain is to become one of the first countries to trial a four-day week.