Why the four-day work working week might not be fit for all

Image: Bruno Emmanuelle/Unsplash

AS dozens of UK companies began a four-day working week trial on Monday, June 6, a global leader in creating people-centric spaces warned that a more tailored approach might be necessary.

Following the confirmation that firms across a range of sectors in the UK would be trialling a four-day work week without loss of pay, Unispace, a global leader in creating people-centric spaces, urged employers to ensure flexibility in working styles wasn’t reduced as a result.

Lawrence Mohiuddine, CEO EMEA at Unispace, said: “This trial of a new working style is certainly laudable in the new world of work, but as a CEO I would be wary of pushing one set up for many in an environment where flexibility is key. Just as we’ve learnt that the five-day work week isn’t viable for all, so too could the four-day week be for some.

“If there’s one crucial takeaway from the pandemic, it’s that taking a catch-all approach to working style mandates isn’t always the best option. People from different demographics and home lives will have different preferences and if the right balance in working styles is to be achieved there needs to be flexibility, rather than broadly dictating requirements for all.”

He added: “For some, the option to get out to the office five days a week is appealing and it’s important that this isn’t overlooked. In fact, in a study of 3,000 office workers and 2,750 employers across Europe we found that 65 per cent of those living with a spouse or partner and children preferred to be in the office, while 59 per cent of those living alone also had a desire to be in the workplace rather than at home.

“While there will be many individuals who value the extra time they get from home, for others, the option to work amongst their peers for a full week in order to progress their careers is also still desired and they shouldn’t be disadvantaged by this change. As a case in point, our same study showed that the younger generation of the workforce would be happier to return to the office if they had access to training and development programmes (cited by 80 per cent of respondents aged 18-35).

“A further 81% of those living with housemates and 75 per cent of those living with a spouse/partner and children also cited a desire to return if they could gain access to training,” he said.

He concluded: “The future workforce is flexible and while four-day working weeks is an innovative approach that should be explored, the voice of all talent pools needs to be listened to in today’s talent-short market. No single approach to working setups will meet the needs of everyone, but a flexible style that puts the power in the hands of today’s talent will be more desirable for a greater range of individuals.”

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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.