The four-day working week was trialled across the UK in late 2022, causing the idea to be a hot topic for businesses across the country.
In collaboration with YouGov, Startups.co.uk surveyed 530 employees across the UK and found that 78% favour a four-day working week – with almost half (45%) saying they strongly favour the policy.
Employees are up four it
Gen X (born between 1969-1983) were the most in favour of the shorter work week (81%), closely followed by 80% of Gen Z (born after 1999), 78% of Millennials (born between 1984-1998) and 77% of Boomers (born between 1953-1968).
The same opinion echoed across gender with over three quarters of both men (75%) and women (81%) voting in favour. Women were 5% more likely than men to say they would like a four-day week for childcare reasons (rising to 12% at director-level).
When asked what their main reason for opting into a four-day working week would be, the majority (61%) wanted a better work-life balance; 40% would want more time for personal hobbies, and 38% wanted to save on commuting time and costs.
A resigning matter
The enthusiasm for the four-day week has also led employees to be more inclined to jump ship for jobs that offer the perk. 52% of respondents said they would switch careers for this benefit.
The perk is most attractive to Gen Z. 58% of this age group said they would actively search for a role with a new employer for a four-day week, compared to an average of 50% across all other age groups. Boomers, the oldest generation currently in the workforce, are least interested, with 31% saying a four-day week is unlikely to persuade them to look for a new role.
Helena Young, lead writer at Startups said:
Employees are no longer solely motivated by pay or responsibility, but instead want roles that align with their lives. Workers are empowered to campaign for greater work-life balance and autonomy. And, with employees calling the shots, employers should sit up and take notice, as those who fail to meet these changing demands risk losing valuable talent.
Helena Young, lead writer at Startups
Misunderstanding the concept
Although the concept of a four-day working week should guarantee no impact on wages, 52% of employees were concerned that the shorter week would reduce pay. 70% of employees believed they would be expected to work some form of extra hours to accommodate working four days instead of five.
On top of this confusion, employees do not trust their employers to be able to implement the four-day working week. In fact, almost half (48%) of the employees have little to no confidence in their current employer being capable of executing the idea.
Employees are understandably sceptical about how well their employer could implement a four-day week. In the current economy, they fear pay cuts and being shackled to their desks for longer hours, but their clear interest cannot be ignored by business owners. Condensing a week’s worth of work into 28 hours instead of the standard 35 demands careful planning to get right.
Even if a full transition seems distant, a trial can disrupt the status quo and prompt employees to contemplate ways to increase productivity.
Workplace Wellbeing Professional is an online magazine featuring news and analysis on a broad range of employee wellbeing topics, focused on a UK based audience.