Is a four-day working week the answer to encouraging people back into the office?

 Is a four-day working week the answer to encouraging people back into the office?

  • A global study reveals that 88% of professionals would be interested in trialling a four-day working week
  • Almost half of workers would be willing to spend every day in the office if a shorter week was on offer
  • 74% of employers expect staff to return to the office for four days or more at some point

A new report suggests that offering a four-day working week could help to encourage staff into the office more.

Returning for Good, a Unispace Global Workplace Insights report – which combined the results of a survey of 9,500 employees and 6,650 employers from 17 countries worldwide – revealed that 88% of professionals would be interested in trialling a four-day working week, however just 42% of employers would be keen to do so, marking a notable difference between the two groups.

According to the study, 46% of staff would be willing to work from the office every day, rather than on a hybrid basis, if the four-day working model was adopted by their employer.

This is in stark comparison to 21% who are happy to do so with a more traditional employment schedule. Ultimately, 74% of employers expect that their staff will return to the office for four or more days per week at some point in the future.

Of the employees surveyed, the top sectors that were open to a four-day working week were technology, media and telecoms, consumer goods, financial services and banking and insurance.

However, the data suggests that professionals and their employers are still at odds over shifts to traditional ways of working.

Lawrence Mohuiddine, CEO EMEA at Unispace, said, “It is perhaps no surprise that many employees are keen on a shift to a four-day working week given the increased flexibility in how and where people work.

“However, we feel that it could also have real benefits for many employers, not least in their ability to encourage their staff back to the office and, in the long term, to retain their talent more effectively.

“When combined with a return to the office, the shift to working in this way could lead to improved productivity amongst workforces too, so it is certainly something for employers to consider, particularly those who are battling high levels of staff attrition.

“Obviously, this is not possible for firms in every sector, but for many, it could lead to their staff returning to work from the office on a more regular basis.”

“A study by the World Economic Forum found that 90% of firms that trialled the new working model looked to retain it after the programme was finished and that this way of operating led to improved morale, fewer absences and, notably, lower levels of staff burnout.”

Sam Bradshaw, Head of People at Astute, added, “We’ve long advocated the benefits of flexible working, and have seen huge organisational benefits from our new 9-day fortnight, where all of our employees get every other Friday off, while still getting paid for 10 days without having to work compressed hours.

“As a result of this new benefit, staff attrition has significantly decreased, and a recent independent culture survey highlighted an 8-10% reduction in health risks and an 8-11% improvement in employee engagement and satisfaction.”

To find out more about a career at Astute, visit the Work for Us page.