What Workers Want: 4-day Working Week

New research conducted by office furniture supplier, Viking, reveals that British workers want to move to a four-day working week.

The research, which involved 1,677 UK employees, revealed important trends employers should consider during National Work Life Week. Over half of people said that they’d like to move to a four-day working week. Respondents to the survey were asked which days they would like to work, with the following results:

  • 72% want to work on Mondays
  • 93% want to work on Tuesdays
  • 93% want to work on Wednesdays
  • 91% want to work on Thursdays
  • 50% want to work on Fridays

38 hours per week – but over 4 days

It seems that employees are not looking to work less, but to change their pattern of work.  Despite only working four days a week, most employees told researchers they want to keep working a full-time schedule of 38 hours a week. However, instead of the current 9 to 5 standard pattern, employees would prefer the option to work longer hours, four days a week. The average hours UK workers would ideally like to spend at the office each day are:

  • Nine hours on Monday
  • Ten hours on Tuesday
  • Ten hours on Wednesday
  • Nine hours on Thursday.

Survey respondents were also asked to state what their ideal start and finish times are under their new proposed working week. The most popular times were starting at 8 am and finishing at 6 pm.

More flexible working

Workers are also keen to get more flexibility and agility in their working hours. 6 in 10 employees (60%) said they wanted to work at least part of their working week from home. In terms of when people want to be working away from the office, 1 in 5 (19%) would like to work from home between 90% and 100% of the time. The mean average amount of time people wanted to work from home is just over one-third of their working week (31%).

The issue looks set to become more important as younger workers move up through the workplace. Over two-thirds (68%) of 16 to 25-year-old workers want the option to work from home, compared to just over one-half of over-55s.

Benefits of a new working pattern

Workers are not the only ones who would stand to benefit from the new working pattern. Those surveyed said that working a four-day pattern would have a number of benefits for their workplace. 61% of people say that changing their working hours would make them more productive at work. Other benefits employees cited are:

  • 70% think it would make them happier
  • 65% say it would reduce stress
  • 62% think it would boost relationships
  • 51% think it would increase motivation
  • 54% would be more creative
  • 68% would be better rested

The new hours are already being debated in Parliament, so it will be interesting to see how many employers decide to adopt the new hours.