Half of UK workforce would trade 9-5 for seven day flexibility

Share this story

Half uk workforce wants 7 day working week

A new survey shows that UK employees crave the true flexibility offered by a seven-day working week*. Businesses that don’t adopt a culture of flexibility not only risk losing their staff to the lure of the gig economy, but could also lose competitive advantage as a result of becoming unattractive and inaccessible to next gen talent.

The research shows that employees no longer want to be chained to the Industrial Revolution-inspired 9-5 working week, Monday to Friday. While employers increasingly offer a four-day week as a sweetener, this is not the right fit for all employees. Worksome found that employees want the option to pick their working hours from across seven days.

Key findings: Nearly half (47 per cent) of employees said that the option to spread their work across the whole week would increase their work-life balance; Nearly half (47 per cent) of 25-34 year olds said that the ability to work across seven days would seriously cut their childcare costs; 27 per cent said they wanted to be able to prioritise their personal time and work hours that fit around their life.

It is families who can benefit most from the introduction of a seven day working week.

The average wage per week for a full-time worker in the UK stands at £569, and with childcare costs hitting an average of £232.84 per week, many families are facing a difficult decision: should one of the parents sacrifice their career to stay at home with the children to bypass childcare costs?

Findings from the 2018 Modern Families Index show that lack of flexibility negatively impacts career progression. 1 in 5 (18 per cent) reported they have deliberately stalled their careers in order to stay at home with children and avoid childcare costs, while more than 1 in 10 (11 per cent) have refused a new job and 1 in 10 have rejected a promotion because of the limited work life balance opportunities.

CCO and co-founder of Worksome, Mathias Linnemann said,

Flexibility is not about needing to work less, but a need to spread the working hours out over times that fit around family commitments or life aspirations. Offering employees the choice to pick their working week across a seven day period affords them true flexibility around their existing commitments. We believe the seven day working week is better for everyone.

Our research shows that businesses need to look at expanding the normal work hours or risk losing their core teams as they move towards having more control over their own work-life balance.

It’s no secret that today’s workforce values their flexibility, especially among the younger generations. Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2018 found that flexibility is the most important factor for staff loyalty and retention among millennials.

However, Worksome’s research also found that businesses are uncertain about introducing flexible working: 81 per cent said they were not using flexible working perks as part of their recruitment strategy; 86 per cent of business owners admitted to shunning flexible working practices, and are actively choosing not to encourage them; 25 per cent of the board directors surveyed said that they would prefer to lose staff rather than offer a more flexible work environment

Mathias Linneman continued,

Today’s workforce craves a different professional life to previous generations. A regimented 4 or 5 day week won’t cut it for them. Companies should therefore focus on how they can create an attractive work space and help further their careers and goals. The key is flexibility and trusting that employees can decide on the schedule that allows them to perform the best.

Those businesses that embrace this dynamic will be the winning organisations who will also open up new opportunities for increased revenues. The key to that scenario working will be about sourcing a talent pool of highly skilled people that want — and need — different working hours than are currently offered. It’s a supply and demand issue, and historically this has been a major barrier to expanded working weeks becoming a reality.

*from Worksome


Interested in employee engagement and reward strategies?  We recommend the Employee Engagement Summit 2019 and the Rewards Strategies to Deliver Business Objectives training day.

Help Keep HRreview Free with a Small Donation

One Comment - Write a Comment

  1. I’m in the 50% who would absolutely prefer 7 day flexibility….

    I love my job and the more productive/active I am in my own personal life, the better I am at my job…

    Some days I would love to work 11am-8pm… other days I’d love to cut out at 3pm and happily work a few hours on a Saturday morning. I think I’d often be happy to spread my work out across 7 days – still putting in minimum 50 hours but feeling like I’ve got far more usable free personal time…

    It seems absolutely ludicrous that UK motorways are still rammed with traffic from 7:00am – 9:00am… the world no longer operates 9-5 so everyone is losing out on time, getting frustrated, etc…

    On the days I can work from home – my business gets a 7am – 7pm day out of me… sure with a few 5 minute windows to throw in a load of laundry, or answer the door to a delivery that I’ve been able to plan in to receive… and I might be singing along to something near full volume (because sometimes – that’s how I like to work) and my overall productivity at home is huge – especially compared to spending hours travelling into an office when, often, there is absolutely no value add for me or the business that couldn’t be achieved via telephone or skype if necessary… And the gift of missing out on all the unnecessary ‘Can you just…’ questions that remarkably don’t happen if you aren’t visible/within reach in the office, and yet, the world keeps turning.

    Understandably, businesses don’t want workplaces (Head Offices, Headquarters, etc) to become soulless, empty ghost towns…. but to avoid that, there has to be a reason, a value gain/add… something to make it worthwhile. Traditional 9-5 desk toiling is pointless in most industries now….

Post Comment