Third of employers think 4-day week will catch on

A study by the CIPD looks into the current status of the 4-day week, predicts it will gain currency, but highlights some of the challenges for employers.

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A third of employers think the four-day week will become a reality in the UK for most workers within the next 10 years, according to a CIPD survey, although only a small number currently offer it or plan to in the next three years.

The Four Day Week – employer perspectives of moving to a four-day week report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development [CIPD] also found just one in 10 organisations said they have reduced working hours without reducing pay for the whole or a significant part of their workforce over the last five years and that under half of employers (42%) of these did so as a result of the furlough scheme.

Just 1% of organisations that have not reduced hours without reducing pay for staff plan to do so in the next three years.

A majority of employers believe that a shift to a four-day week without reducing pay would depend on their organisation improving their efficiency and working smarter (66%) or firms boosting their adoption of technology (68%).

The analysis is based on a survey of 2,000 employers and ONS Labour Force Survey data on people’s working hours.

The report also finds:

  • Among organisations that have reduced working hours, the main drivers were to increase employee well-being (36%), decreased demand for products or services (32%), or to help with recruitment and retention (30%).
  • 16% of employers have reduced working hours in the last five years, with 10% reducing hours without cutting pay, although in almost half (47%) of the cases the reduction in hours was due to the furlough scheme
  • The biggest challenges for firms that had reduced hours were that new ways of working did not suit everybody in their organisation (32%), they were unable to achieve the same volume of work/outputs as before (30%) and that the task required someone to be present (26%).
  • 31% of workers say they would like to work fewer hours, but only 11% are willing to take a pay cut to achieve this
  • The majority of workers (68.5%) are happy with their working hours.


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