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Employees would sacrifice pay for working a shorter week

A four-day working week could save UK businesses an estimated £104bn annually, according to new research.

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"A four-day week could help to improve gender diversity in the workplace"
"A four-day week could help to improve gender diversity in the workplace"

A report from Henley Business School found that a four-day working week, on full pay, could add to businesses’ bottom lines through increased staff productivity and an uplift in staff physical and mental health.

 

Following this research, HR and payroll solutions provider ADP carried out a similar study of more than 10,000 European employees.

 

ADP’s research found almost two-thirds of UK workers (61 percent) would opt for a four-day working week if they had the choice. Of these respondents, 45 percent said they would prefer to work four longer days to earn the same salary and 16 percent preferred standard hours at reduced pay overall.

 

In addition, the Henley report revealed that almost two thirds (63 percent) of employers said that providing a four-day working week has helped them to attract and retain talent.

 

ADP’s research found that the four-day week is most popular amongst those aged 25-44, with two-thirds of this age bracket saying they would opt for this way of working. Almost half of this group (46 percent) said they would want to maintain their pay levels in exchange for working longer days.

 

Jeff Phipps, managing director at ADP UK, said: “There are signs that a four-day week could help to improve gender diversity in the workplace, by making it easier for couples to manage family responsibilities and enabling more women to take full advantage of professional opportunities. This allows everyone to pursue the full range of their passions at work, while bringing greater diversity to the office and allowing employees to enjoy a fulfilling home life.

 

“However a cautious approach is advised as, in my own anecdotal experience, working mums have often asked: How will that help me pick up my kids from school? We have to listen to and understand our employee needs, then leverage appropriate solutions to give people the balance and flexibility they seek within the specific business context. Silver bullets may make for good political headlines but their practical implementation can fail to deliver the intended benefits.”

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