Six-in-ten (60%) UK workers would like more flexibility as to when they work, such as condensing hours into a four-day week.

According to a new report by ADP exploring employees’ attitudes towards the current world of work, which also found that this number increased to two-thirds (67%) in Greater London.

 

Flexible working

Although pay remains a priority for many workers, almost half (45%) admit they would accept a pay cut if it meant improving their work-life balance, this rises to 64 percent in Greater London.

Similarly, four-in-ten (40%) workers – rising to 55 percent in Greater London – would take a pay cut if it allowed them to have total flexibility over when they work,

Further, 40 percent – rising to 57 percent in Greater London – would also be willing to take a pay cut if it would guarantee flexibility over the location they could work (i.e., remotely, or to split time between home and the office).

Yet, the preference for most (60%) workers would be to get more flexibility as to when they work but keeping the same number of hours they work during the week. For example, to transition from a traditional 40-hour five day working week towards four working days over 10 hours each.

“Not so long ago, the move towards a four-day week might have been laughed off: now it merits serious consideration. Especially if granting requests for higher wages is not a viable option,” says Sirsha Halder, General Manager UK & Ireland, ADP.

“It is important that employers sit up and take notice. In today’s tight labour market, maintaining a happy and stable workforce is paramount. It’s clear that hybrid work and the desire for flexibility after two years of working from home is not going away – in fact, it’s growing in momentum.”

 

Mental health

This desire for great flexibility comes at a time when there is a mental health ticking timebomb happening in offices up and down the land.

Over half (51%) of men and 45 percent of women admit that their work us suffering due to their poor mental health.

This is leading to over a quarter (29%) of workers actively trying to change their job and/or move into another industry.

 

How can employers make a four-say week work?

 To truly achieve the efficiencies to make a four-day work week viable, new tools and operating practices often need to be introduced.

Encouragingly, six-in-ten (60%) respondents to our survey felt that their employer has got all the right systems in place to accommodate a four-day working week.

In fact, almost a quarter (23%) said that they have already been given the opportunity to move to a four-day working week within the next 12 months.

“Retaining staff doesn’t just come from paying the best wages. Rather, our research suggests that flexibility is now the most sought-after component. However, when staff ask for flexibility, the emphasis is less on location and more so on when – and how – they work. It is encouraging that so many are embracing the four-day working week and are providing staff with the work-life balance that they crave,” adds Halder.