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Employees Would Expect to Work Much Longer Hours in a Four-Day Week

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The majority of workers would expect a four-day week to consist of longer working hours with one in seven stating that up to 10 hours per day would be reasonable.

According to new research from the global job search platform Talent.com among 1,325 respondents, workers believe that a four-day working week would enable them to achieve better well-being and mental health, amid a national mental health crisis.

Over half (54%) believe that a four-day week should consist of a minimum of 8.25 hours per day, while a third (33%) would expect to work 36 hours, averaging 9 hours per day. Nearly 1 in 7 respondents stated that 10 hours per day would be reasonable.

According to the latest ONS data, the average number of hours currently worked in a week for full-time workers is 36.4 (averaging 7.28 hours per day).

Improved wellbeing

1,325 UK adults were surveyed by YouGov, on behalf of Talent.com, to discover the UK workforce’s attitudes during the four-day week.

The main reasons respondents stated they would support a four-day week were to improve their work-life balance and well-being, by enabling more time for leisure and rest.

82% believe that a four-day week would enable better work-life balance, while 55% believe it would lead to improved well-being and 48% to reduced stress.

71% said this would be achieved because they would have more time for leisure and rest, whilst one-third stated that more time for childcare or family caregiving would be beneficial.

Respondents unwilling to take a salary cut

However, 64% said they would be unwilling to take a pay cut to work a four-day week at a time when the cost of living is at its highest. Indeed, the top work benefit, cited by 76%, was an annual salary increase, followed by more vacation days (53%) and the flexibility to work when you want (52%).

Commenting on the findings of the study, Noura Dadzie, senior VP of sales at Talent.com said: ‘We are now living, and working, amid a time of economic turbulence, experiencing a national mental health crisis in a post-pandemic world. Our research demonstrates that the UK workforce would be far better able to navigate this crisis if a four-day workweek were implemented, as a collective solution to a number of these major challenges.

‘82% believe their work-life balance would improve within a four-day week, and around one in two people believe it would reduce stress and improve well-being. In fact, employees would be willing to work far longer hours, to enable this extra day of leisure and rest, which could also be highly beneficial for the economy and for working parents too.’

The UK’s four day workweek pilot programme

The UK is currently in the middle of the four-day workweek pilot programme, with the pilot itself currently running until November 2022.

Commenting on the pilot in the UK, Noura Dadzie said: ‘The four-day working week trial has enabled a substantial number of businesses to experience the four-day working week, in a monitored and academically-led environment. Many already report that workers’ job satisfaction has increased, and the four-day workweek delivers higher productivity.

‘It will be interesting, and critical, to see if business goals and targets are met, or even exceeded, by the trialist companies. As this will be the most critical factor in whether the four-day week is here to stay.’

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