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Growing appetite among UK workers for four-day week, report finds

four-day week UK

The UK workforce has a growing appetite for a four-day week, with a survey finding that nearly one in three Brits (31.2%) are actively looking for a job with a four-day workweek in 2022.

Some workers are even prepared to quit their current job for a four-day working week, with that figure highest among 35-44-year-olds at nearly a fifth of those surveyed by productivity platform ClickUp.

The data comes amid the so-called “Great Resignation” in which the pandemic and associated shift to remote working has led to many workers rethinking their careers and striving for a better work-life balance.

This has made it an employee job market, with companies competing to offer improved benefits to attract the top talent. The four-day workweek remains rare in the UK, but some startups have made the leap. In November last year, UK fintech Atom Bank switched to a four-day working week for all of its 430 employees without cutting salaries.

The company is in its second month of the three-month trial but Mark Mullen, chief executive of the digital lender, said last week that Atom Bank is “utterly committed” to the shift.

The results so far were encouraging, Mullen told the PA news agency, but it was “too early to declare victory”.

Other UK companies to explore a four-day working week are supermarket Morrisons and recruitment firm MRL Consulting Group.

In countries such as Japan, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Iceland, Ireland and the UAE the four-day working week is already a reality. However, the UK government hasn’t made any official move towards a similar change.

Demand for a four-day workweek in the UK is being driven by the under 45s, with overall support for the move standing at between 71% and 72% for 16-24-year-olds, 25-34-year-olds and 35-44-year-olds.

Support drops substantially for 45-54 year-olds (51.5%) and even further for those aged over 55 (20.3%).

Some 16% of those surveyed by ClickUp said they plan to ask their current employer for a four-day workweek in 2022.

“Businesses need to get ready for the four-day work week as rising numbers of people demand it,” said Zeb Evans, CEO at ClickUp. “It won’t be right for all people or all businesses, but those wanting to explore the idea can start by looking at their productivity. There are huge gains to be made by making processes more efficient, improving knowledge sharing and removing duplication of effort.”