Half of workers tempted to quit job for rival offering a four day week

All four it! Half of workers would consider quitting their job for different employer offering a four-day working week to ‘improve their mental health and wellbeing’ – as 60 UK companies prepare to trial it

  • Two in five workers believe a four day working week will soon become the norm
  • Hays survey said 53% would be tempted to move to a rival firm for four day week
  • The recruitment company said employers need to try to meet new expectations 
  • Half of workers would be tempted to quit and move to a rival company for a four-day work week, new research suggests, with the majority predicting it would boost their mental health and wellbeing. 

    Recruiters Hays said a survey of more than 9,600 workers showed that two in five believe a four-day week will become a reality in the next few years.

    And around 53 per cent of respondents said they would consider moving to a different employer if a four-day week was offered.

    It comes as 60 UK companies are set to trial a four-day working week from next month. 

    Gaelle Blake, of Hays, said: ‘We’re seeing companies getting more creative in what they can offer prospective staff when trying to recruit in a competitive market.

    ‘However, if employers don’t get the basics right such as offering competitive salaries along with flexible and hybrid working, the majority of professionals will look elsewhere to employers who have got the fundamentals right.

    ‘From our experience, there’s still only a handful of companies offering a four-day week for example, and while this is an attractive offering, there are lots of other ways for companies to stand out.

    Recruiters Hays said a survey of more than 9,600 workers showed that two in five believe a four-day week will become a reality in the next few years. (Pictured: Commuters arriving at London Waterloo in April)

    Recruiters Hays said a survey of more than 9,600 workers showed that two in five believe a four-day week will become a reality in the next few years. (Pictured: Commuters arriving at London Waterloo in April) 

    Pressure Drop brewery in Tottenham, North London, is one of the businesses taking part in the trial

    Pressure Drop brewery in Tottenham, North London, is one of the businesses taking part in the trial 

    ‘Actions such as having a strong purpose and offering staff the opportunity to take volunteer days is attractive, as is introducing wellbeing days.’

    Around 60 companies will take part in a four-day week trial next month organised by a group campaigning for a shorter working week with no loss of pay.

    The programme, organised by academics at Oxford, Cambridge and Boston College in the US, will run from June to December, with a range of businesses and charities taking part.

    They include the Royal Society of Biology, hipster London brewery Pressure Drop, a Manchester medical devices firm, and a fish and chip shop in Norfolk.

    Campaigners say the move will create a better work-life balance and boost productivity, but critics warn it will lead to more stress as employees attempt to squeeze more work into fewer hours, and leave firms with higher costs. 

    The trial, led by 4 Day Week Global, will see staff members from different organisations completing the usual amount of work, and up to 35 hours each week, but split over four days rather than five.

    Platten's fish and chip shop in Wells-next-the-Sea, North Norfolk, is one of the businesses taking part in the four-day working week trial

    Platten’s fish and chip shop in Wells-next-the-Sea, North Norfolk, is one of the businesses taking part in the four-day working week trial  

    The Royal Society of Biology will also allow staff to work four days rather than the usual five 

    Pros and cons of a four-day week 

    Pros:

    • Fewer distractions at work
    • Longer hours does not mean more output
    • Increased mental wellbeing and physical health
    • Parents with children find themselves less stressed out
    • Lowered carbon footprint

     Cons:

    • Not all industries can participate 
    • It might widen existing inequalities
    • The cost risk for employers is expensive 
    • Workers may put in the same hours anyways 
    • Difficult team management

     Source: Adecco Group

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    The pandemic has seen more employees working from home and adopting more flexible hours instead of the usual nine-to-five, five-day working week.

    Joe O’Connor, the chief executive of 4 Day Week Global, said there was no way to ‘turn the clock back’ to the pre-pandemic world.

    ‘Increasingly, managers and executives are embracing a new model of work which focuses on quality of outputs, not quantity of hours,’ he previously told the Guardian.

    ‘Workers have emerged from the pandemic with different expectations around what constitutes a healthy life-work balance.’

    Major companies that have tried out a four-day week but are not part of the trial include Unilever, Atom Bank and Panasonic.

    Mark Downs, CEO of the Royal Society of Biology, said last month that he decided to take part in the trial to see if the change could help attract staff in an ‘incredibly competitive’ labour market.

    Similar experiments are due to be held in the USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, while trials are already being conducted in Spain and Scotland.

    Researchers have been arguing that benefits to a four-day week would also see staff return a more efficient work performance for their employers.

    Several ‘influencer’ agencies are already operating a four-day working week, including Engage Hub, whose employees will have either a Wednesday or a Friday off, rotating every eight weeks.

    It comes as companies in Japan, a fellow G7 economy, are increasingly switching to four-day weeks to improve the work-life balance for its hard-working employees.

    Japanese companies are increasingly switching to four-day weeks to improve the work-life balance for its hard-working employees

    Japanese companies are increasingly switching to four-day weeks to improve the work-life balance for its hard-working employees

    The shortened working week encourages staff to take more care of their children or elderly parents, volunteer or pick up new hobbies or interests during the extended weekend.

    Major Japanese conglomerate Panasonic became the latest company to offer staff the option of taking a third weekend day off.

    The Japanese government said in its most recent economic policy guideline that it is now encouraging companies to offer the optional four-day week.

    Panasonic joins Hitachi, global bank Mizuho and Uniqlo operator Fast Retailing Co., in allowing staff to shorten their working week, the Japan Times reported.

    Last year, 8.5 per cent of companies in East Asian country were not enforcing a full five-day working week, a survey of 4,000 firms found. 

    The accredited four-day work week companies already operating in Britain

    3D Issue – a digital publishing platform 

    Advice Direct Scotland – an advice hub 

    Autonomy – an independent thinktank 

    Big Potato Games – a board game company 

    Blink – a specialist digital marketing agency 

    CMG Technologies – 3D metal moulding

    Causeway Irish Housing Association – a not-for-profit organisation provind temporary accommodation for young single homeless people 

    Charlton Morris – a specialist search firm 

    Common Knowledge – a not-for-profit building digital tools for grassroots organisers 

    Contour Couture – an aesthetics company 

    Crystallised – a marketing agency 

    Datalase – laser equipment supplier 

    Earth Science Partnership – a consultancy of engineers, geologists and applied environmental scientists 

    Elektra Lighting – lighting consultants 

    Entrepreneurs Circle – a business development service

    Evolved – search marketing specialists 

    Four Day Week Ltd – a jobs site for four day week and flexible roles 

    Geeks For Social Change – software developers, activists and researchers with a social agenda 

    Gracefruit – a cosmetics company 

    Highfield Professional Solutions – an employment agency 

    Legacy Events – an events management company 

    MRL – a specialist recruitment company for high technology and financial markets 

    PTHR – a design, development and change consultancy

    Punch Creative – a digital marketing agency 

    Reboot – a digital marketing firm 

    Resilience Brokers – working to improve climate resilience  

    Reward Agency – a marketing agency 

    SG World – a software company 

    STOP AIDS – a HIV and AIDS charity 

    Sinister Fish Games – a board game company 

    Social Enterprise Direct – a technological solutions company 

    Softer Success – working with employees to prevent burnout 

    T-Cup Studios – helping employee wellbeing 

    Target Publishing – an independent publisher  

    Technovent – a supplier of medical products for the body prosthesis sector 

    The Circle – hub for charities, social enterprises, community groups and businesses 

    The UPAC Group – a packaging supplier 

    Venture Stream – a digital marketing agency 

    YWCA Scotland – a movement of women leading change 

    flocc – a digital marketing agency 

    streamGO – an events platform

     Source; 4 Day Week Global

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