The research released by Hays, which received over 11,800 responses, found that close to a third (31%) believe the four-day week could have a beneficial impact on the environment. Other perceived benefits of this way of working include improved employee health and wellbeing (89%) and improved organisational productivity (59%).
The research comes after the official four-day week trial in the UK concluded with 56 out of the 61 companies who entered the trial planning to extend it. 18 of the 56 companies have already made the four-day week a permanent fixture within their organisation.
How would workers use the extra day?
When asked how they would use an extra day off if they were working a four-day week, one in five workers (21%) said they would use the day to volunteer. Learning and development would also be on the cards as 40% said they would like to use the extra day for self-development such as learning a new skill or language.
Workers would also like to use the time do life admin (76%), use the day for leisure time and exercise (69%) and spend time with family/friends (69%). 15% said they would use the day to take on extra work or freelance projects.
Four-day week is still up for debate for many
A large majority of respondents (93%) believe the four-day working week is a good idea, however only 5% of organisations surveyed say they have implemented a four-day week (no change from 2022), whilst 17% are now considering it, increasing from 9%.
Of the companies who said they aren’t trialling a four-day working week and aren’t considering it (58%), over half said this was because they are not prepared from an operational perspective. 46% said they were concerned about the effect on productivity, 20% were concerned about the pressure on staff, whilst 19% said they weren’t prepared from a financial perspective.
Karen Young, Director at Hays, commented:
“Although a wider roll out of the four-day week is still up for debate, it’s encouraging to see the clear appetite from staff with regards to spending more time volunteering and working on their self-development.
Especially in a skills short market, I’d urge employers to consider ways in which they could facilitate this for staff, without implementing a four-day working week. For example, offering staff a day or more a year to volunteer within their local communities is a great way to start with many organisations already doing so.
At Hays, for example, we offer paid volunteering days to all our employees as part of our “Helping for your tomorrow” global programme. We partner with charities like Trees for Cities, where employees spend a working day planting trees and doing conservation work to help create greener, healthier towns and cities for future generations. As this example illustrates, an increase in professionals volunteering can also have positive benefits for sustainability. On top of this, volunteering is personally rewarding and can create a sense of belonging and wider purpose which could, in turn, benefit employee wellbeing and mental health.
Similarly, there’s a clear want from professionals for self-development, so facilitating time for staff to learn something new that might not be related to their job role is encouraged. There’s plenty of ways employers can support this by providing access to online learning, or a dedicated time when they can pursue learning outside of the workplace.”
Original Article: HRnews
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