New research by the CIPD says better tech and mindset change in the way we work needs to come first.
While just 10% of employers have engaged the four-day week since 2018, just over a third think reducing hours while maintaining full levels of pay will happen by 2032.
In a new report produced by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), entitled Four Day Week, this change has yet to happen in broad terms, with only a few even planning it over the next three years.
Jonathan Boys, senior labour market economist at the CIPD said: “The rationale behind the move for the four-day week is a positive one, to give people more leisure time and improve their wellbeing while increasing their productivity to compensate.”
A trial involving 70 UK firms piloting the four-day week began in June.
“The current trials are an attempt to plug the evidence gap, help provide insights for other employers that would like to make the shift to the four-day week and make a stronger case for the benefits,” said Boys.
“Some businesses will find this easier than others depending on their size and sector. The major sticking point is the need to increase productivity by a whopping 25% to make up for the output lost from fewer days of work. This point came through in our findings with a majority of employers saying they would need to work smarter and adopt new technology in order to reduce working hours without cutting pay.”
“The four-day week also faces a challenge as the cost-of-living crisis bites.
The current cost-of-living crisis – and how long it goes on for – will obviously have a major impact on whether more companies are likely to adopt a four-day week.
Added Boys: “People may very well look to increase their hours to boost their income. Greater flexibility in work has the potential to have an overall positive impact on working lives across many sectors. However, this kind of flexibility will be easier for some businesses than others. Businesses should continue to listen to their workforce, look at the evidence and consider how they can pilot new ways of working.”
According to the poll, 68% of workers are currently happy with their working hours, but while 31% would like to work fewer hours, only 11% would be prepared to take a corresponding pay cut.