Interest in the 4-day work week is rising yet millions of UK workers are set to miss out on the benefits, according to research from productivity platform, ClickUp. It found that certain careers are more likely to miss out on the promise of working a day less each week for no reduction in pay, while other employment sectors may reap the rewards. Businesses must take action to close these gaps to create equity for workers in the UK.
Those working in education reported the highest levels of pessimism, with 44% of workers believing it is unrealistic to move to a 4-day work week with no reduction in pay. Three other sectors stood out above the national average of 32%, including those in manufacturing (41%), human resources (38%), and travel (37%).
In contrast, only 17% of those working in IT & telecoms believe a 4-day work week is unrealistic, followed closely by those working in the legal (18%) and creative (21%) industries. The table below reveals where UK workers believe they are most likely to miss out on any 4-day work week revolution:
Natasha Wallace, International People Operations Partner at ClickUp, said: “There are two key questions businesses need to ask to make sure a 4-day work week is realistic for them: can all roles be performed with flexibility that isn’t detrimental to business performance, and how much further can productivity be improved to support the required flexibility. Certain sectors and careers are better suited than others, but many of the reasons holding businesses back can be addressed with adjustments to how they work and which tools they use.”
ClickUp’s research unearthed many reasons that workers believe are holding them back from adopting a 4-day work week. The top two reasons, each cited by 22% of UK workers, are that people are simply too busy to do their best work, and that there are too many meetings. Other reasons adding to the negativity toward a 4-day work week include technology and tools not being effective enough in helping to get the job done (17%), businesses not getting their remote or hybrid working models right (16%), and employers not effectively prioritising and focusing on results (15%).
Natasha Wallace continues, “There is no one-size fits all; a 4-day work week isn’t right for every business or every individual. However, there is hope for those who do want to adopt a 4-day work week but are resigned to the fact it may not work for them. Make incremental changes, start with pushing for async working to cut down unnecessary meetings, create a culture that focuses on results and outputs rather than presenteeism, or invest in the right tools to improve efficiency and communication. There is a lot that businesses and individuals can do to improve their flexibility and, perhaps more importantly, their productivity too.”