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Pandemic has made four-day working weeks more attractive to workers and businesses

March 14, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns and shift to remote working has had a significant impact on organizations’ attitudes towards a shorter working week, new research from Henley Business School has revealed.

According to the study, 65% of UK businesses surveyed are now implementing a four-day working week for some, or all, of their staff, compared with 50% who answered a similar survey carried out in 2019.

What’s more, businesses that have introduced a four-day week are already benefiting from significant financial savings, with those surveyed claiming to have saved an estimated £104 billion, approximately 2.2% of the UK’s annual turnover. This was another increase compared to 2019, when Henley Business School estimated businesses saved a total of £92 billion by offering a four-day week.

The report titled The four-day week: The pandemic and the evolution of flexible-working, explores the benefits of working fewer days to both organizations and workers, including improved quality of work (64%), the ability to attract and retain the right talent (68%), and employees feeling less stressed at work (78%).

Dr Rita Fontinha, Associate Professor in Strategic Human Resource Management, said flexible working arrangements are proving to be a vital recruitment and retention tool for many organizations:

“Organisations are only just beginning to understand what impact the pandemic has had on their business and management culture. Responding positively to the call for greater flexibility could be of huge benefit to the workplace and the greatest silver lining to come from a pandemic that has brought such hardship to many. Businesses need to better understand their employees’ desires and aspirations, to enable them to recruit the best people and to keep those people happier and more productive in the workplace.”


Source: Henley Business School