Nearly three quarters of professionals (71%) have stated that they would be willing to give up work socials and relationships with colleagues, in favour of a 4-day working week.
The findings come from a recent poll by recruiter Robert Walters of 3,000+ working professionals – and highlights the ‘not-so appealing side’ of the 4-day week to employers, with office relationships taking the biggest hit.
Whilst professionals would give up the social side of their working lives, only 13% are inclined to forego hybrid work arrangements, and only 7% would sacrifice training opportunities in favour of less working days.
According to the findings, a staggering 91% of professionals would be keen for their employer to implement a 4-day week. In fact, a 4-day week now tops the poll (49%) on most desirable perks when applying for a job, followed by the ability to work from anywhere (35%).
With half of professionals who would like a 4-day week expecting their full pay to remain the same, debates have begun on whether the post-pandemic workforce are ‘the most entitled yet’ – with fewer professionals feeling responsibility for the financial health or stability of their employer.
Just 15% of professionals stated that they would take a 10-15% pay increase over the option of a 4-day week, and it seems office-based soft perks such as work socials or complimentary lunch or breakfasts, are less appealing in the face of fewer working days – with just 1% stating that they would opt for this over a 4-day working week.
THE HIDDEN DATA
Earlier this year the independent trail of 60+ companies and around 2,900 employees undertaking a 4-day week concluded – with many highlighting this as a resounding success.
However, when this data is combined with findings from the Robert Walters poll, it seems that possibly only one side of the picture has been painted, as a result it’s also important to consider the potentially negative outcomes of a change in working days.
Key findings from the 4-day Week Pilot Trial include: Overall working hours only reduced to 34 hours – falling short of the 32 it was meant to achieve; 42% reported either working more hours, or no change to their 5-days a week hours; 47% reported no change in the typical amount of overtime they do – further 18% reported doing more overtime; 20.5% reported an increase in burnout-symptoms; and 16% reported an increase in sleeping difficulties – further 46% stated that their sleeping quality hadn’t improved/changed significantly.
In addition, 29% reported no-change to work-life balance – further 10% reported a decrease; 27% reported no change to work-ability – with 21% reporting a decrease; Just 6% stated workload had decreased – 16.8% reported an increase, and 77% reported no-change; 37% reported work-intensity had increased; and 42.5% reported an increase in complexity of their work.
PERHAPS NOT THE SILVER-BULLET
On the findings, Suzanne Feeney, Country Manager at Robert Walters Ireland commented: “Highlighting this data is by no means a way of pointing out that a 4-day week cannot work. Just as with every kind of trial, a balanced view of the results needs to be provided to assist us in understanding what does and doesn’t work. There is definitely a place for the 4-day working week in business but maybe it’s not the silver-bullet to increase productivity and improved wellbeing, as first thought.”