Over three-fifths of UK workers state they would prefer to work longer hours in order to have a three-day weekend. 

New research by Aviva reveals that the majority of UK workers would feel comfortable working longer hours in order to have more time off at the weekend.

Over three-fifths of workers polled (61 per cent) said they would accept this trade off, with this work pattern proving most popular with younger workers (65 per cent).

However, this was also well received by three-fifths (60 per cent) of 45-54 year olds, revealing this as a favourable option all-round. This is despite this age group working the longest hours overall across full and part time employees – working 32 hours a week, on average.

Despite the shifts in work patterns that have occurred over the past year, a significant number of staff still desire more flexibility. Those who want more flexibility cited their number one reason as achieving a ‘better work-life balance’ (28 per cent). This figure increased to a third (33 per cent) of all 45-54 year olds.

However, almost a fifth of workers (18 per cent) did state they were either happy with their current work schedule and did not desire to change anything, or they had already changed their schedule to adopt a hybrid approach to work.

When considering the future of work, a quarter of respondents (25 per cent) felt they would enjoy the flexibility of a four-day work week. Working from home post-pandemic was also desired as over a fifth (21 per cent) of staff said they would be able to complete their role just as well from home or remotely.

Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement at Aviva said:

Lockdown has changed the working lives of many. Flexibility has increased, and there appears to be appetite for more amongst some age groups.

Our research indicates that those in mid-life are already working the longest hours on average. And they are also independently recognised as the least happy and most anxious age group.

While it’s important to continue to do the right things for our clients, our customers and our colleagues, if employers can help individuals incorporate more flexibility into their schedule it can only be positive.

Of all ages, greater flexibility in mid-life may carry the greatest reward for the individual and their employer.

This is a fast growing employee population, and one that is under specific strain. Investing in them today will reap reward tomorrow.


*Research commissioned by Aviva was carried out by Censuswide between 13-17th May 2021 of 2013 full time and part time employees.