Almost nine in 10 (88%) professionals would be interested in a four-day working week trial, compared to just four in 10 (42%) employers, according to a new study.
Research by Unispace revealed that nearly half (46%) of respondents worldwide would be prepared to sacrifice hybrid arrangements and work from the office every day if offered a shorter week, indicating this option could encourage staff back to workplaces.
The survey of 9,500 employees and 6,650 employers in 17 countries by the global workplace design also found that one in five (21%) would be happy to return to offices with a more traditional schedule.
Entitled Returning for Good, a Unispace Global Workplace Insights report, the study showed that nearly three-quarters (74%) of employers expect their workforces to return to the office for a minimum of four days a week at some stage in the future.
Lawrence Mohuiddine, CEO EMEA at Unispace, said: “It is perhaps no surprise that many employees are keen on a shift to a four-day working week given the increased flexibility in how and where people work. However, we feel that it could also have real benefits for many employers, not least in their ability to encourage their staff back to the office and, in the long term, to retain their talent more effectively.
“When combined with a return to the office, the shift to working in this way could lead to improved productivity among workforces too, so it is certainly something for employers to consider, particularly those who are battling high levels of staff attrition. Obviously, this is not possible for firms in every sector, but for many, it could lead to their staff returning to work from the office on a more regular basis.”
Mohuiddine also highlighted that a study by the World Economic Forum had found that 90% of firms that trialled the new working model looked to retain it after the programme was finished and that it had led to improved morale, fewer absences and, notably, lower levels of staff burnout.
The industries found to have the most employees interested in the shorter working week arrangements included media and telecoms, technology, banking and insurance, consumer goods and financial services.