OfficesResearchThinkingStudy: 4-day week enough to entice employees back into the office

New study from Hays highlights that a 4-day work week could be an incentive for employees to return to the physical workspace
Content Team11 months ago5 min

New research from Hays recruitment company reveals that employees could be more inclined to work in the office if it means they are able to do a 4-day workweek. The research included answers from more than 11,800 respondents, with 788 from Scotland. This comes after the UK’s largest 4-day workweek pilot, which saw ‘overwhelmingly positive’ results – but is it enough to convert people from remote and hybrid working?

The study found that, if given the chance, almost two-thirds of workers (63%) would prefer to work a four-day week and spend all their time in the office, compared to just 37% who would prefer to work five hybrid days.

A third of employers also said they would be more willing to consider a shorter working week if staff committed to spending all their time in the office.

The study found that, if given the chance, almost two-thirds of workers (63%) would prefer to work a four-day week and spend all their time in the office…

The research showed that in 2022, an even higher number of professionals could be convinced to move jobs if the company was offering a 4-day workweek, jumping from 53% to 64% over the course of the year. Considering that 71% of employees who took part in the 6-month trial reported lower levels of burnout, the draw for a 4-day workweek is strengthening.

“It’s clear from our research that the appetite for a four-day working week has increased from both professionals and employers,” says Keith Mason, Hays Scotland director.

…the four-day week poses a much bigger cultural and operational shift for many organisations

“However, in reality only 5% of respondents to our survey are working for an organisation where this is actually happening… Organisations were quick to adopt hybrid working as a result of the pandemic, however, the four-day week poses a much bigger cultural and operational shift for many organisations.”

For some, cutting a day out of the rota simply isn’t feasible. The survey found that 16% of employers were unable to implement a four-day week due to the nature of their organisation and sector. Customer facing roles, retail, and construction were just a few that struggled to adapt to a 4-day week.

More than half (56%) of employers say they are not considering implementing a four-day week for a variety of different reasons, including being unprepared from an operational perspective (52%), concerns about the impact on productivity (43%) and worries about the pressure on staff (16%).

Similar research from the BBC shared the negative impacts of a 4-day work week, like increased levels of stress on employees and worries about completing workloads in a shorter amount of time.

In general, just 65% of respondents in 2022 thought the four-day workweek would ever become the norm; that percentage has since grown to 75%. Now, 93% of survey participants think a four-day workweek is a good idea.

“Again, the research points to the importance of workplace flexibility. There are many other ways for employers to stand out from the crowd by introducing hybrid working, flexible hours and more,” says Mason.

Content Team

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