Flexibility | Workers want a four-day week, but only if they continue to work remotely

75% of workers say that they’ll only be interested in a four-day week if remote work is allowed “all or nearly all of the time”.

In the survey from Morning Consult, 87% of workers said they would be interested in a four-day work week and 82% believed that widespread adoption would be successful. Yet, an overwhelming majority (75%) said that they will only be interested in a shorter week if remote work continued to be a significant aspect of their week.

93% of Millennials and 88% of Gen X were the generation groups who were most open to a shorter week. Many having joined the workforce over the pandemic, younger workers seem more likely to embrace unprecedented work habits and prioritise their wellbeing and work-life balance.

“Since the COVID pandemic, the whole world of work has been completely transformed,” Joe Ryle, Director of the Four Day Week campaign, told the HR Grapevine podcast. “In many ways, people had their eyes opened to the fact that we can work differently. There’s a sense that the world of work is being reimagined. I believe this has opened the door to new ideas like a four-day week.”

At-home work trumps everything

With the passing of the Flexible Working Bill, employers might need to prepare themselves for workers demanding a variety of different patterns, including a four-day week. But the above figures suggest that maintaining a level of flexibility around remote work might be more important than a shorter week on its own.

This comes at a time when a large swath of companies, including Google and JPMorgan, are manadating their workforce return to the office and increase productivity.

Yet, this research is particularly poignant considering the success of the world’s largest trial of a four-day week, set up by The Four Day Week campaign, which saw 61 companies enter the trial and 56 of those firms continue with a shorter week post-trial.

The campaign says that workers are able to be as productive in a shorter week as they are in a conventional five-day week, and points to the benefits a shorter week could have on the economy.

“Essentially, we need to reduce working hours,” continues Ryle. “The hours we are putting in are too long, and that’s causing burnout, stress and overwork. We know that 18million working days are lost every year to work-related stress. That’s a problem for our wellbeing and health, but it’s also having a negative effect on the economy. We are working some of the longest hours in the world while having one of the least productive economies.”

HR Grapevine – Serena Haththotuwa