Brits back a four-day working week claiming they could do the same job, study shows

Matt Dutile | Image Source | Getty Images

British workers overwhelmingly believe they could do their job to the same standard in a four-day working week, new research showed on Monday.

Global jobs site Indeed partnered with YouGov to survey more than 2,000 full-time U.K. workers.

Three in four respondents said they supported a shorter working week and claimed they could do their job to the same standard if it was reduced from five days to four.

Among millennials that figure was even higher, with 79% of people aged between 23 and 38 backing a shorter working week and saying it wouldn't impact their performance.

The survey also showed that more than half of those surveyed considered work-life balance to be the most important aspect of their job, with those who prioritized work-life balance saying they would sacrifice £6,000 ($7,590) of their annual salary to ensure the boundaries around their personal life were maintained.

However, salary was named as workers' top priority, with 57% of those polled saying it was the most important aspect of their role. Job security, having the right colleagues and commute length were also seen as important aspects of a workplace.

The concept of a shorter working week has been gaining ground in recent years, both in the U.K. and internationally.

Earlier this year, Perpetual Guardian, a New Zealand financial services company, conducted an eight-week trial of a four-day working week, involving 240 of its employees in various locations. The company found that team engagement levels increased, job performance was maintained and staff stress levels were reduced.

Back in the U.K., Momentum, a political campaign group with more than 40,000 members, has urged Britain's Labour party to pledge a four-day working week as part of its official policy.

The U.K.'s trade union body, the TUC, has also called for the adoption of the four-day model, claiming it could be possible this century with the rise of new technologies like artificial intelligence and automation.

Pay transparency

As well as wanting employers to value work-life balance, British workers also wanted to know how much their colleagues were being paid, Indeed's study showed.

Fifty-six percent of the survey's respondents backed full pay transparency and were willing to give up their own privacy to get it.

Full pay transparency, which is already standard in Sweden, has received support from thinktanks and trade unions in the U.K., and was opposed by just 33% of full-time workers.

The BBC, which receives public funding, and local authorities in the U.K. are already required to publish how much their highest earners are paid.

Indeed found that almost a third of employees were dissatisfied with their current level of pay, and more than half said they would consider leaving their current role if their pay did not increase within the next one to two years.

In the U.K., it is already a legal requirement for companies with more than 250 employees to publish gender pay gap data. Some campaign groups and lawmakers have also called for large firms to be required to publish ethnicity pay gaps.

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