The 2019 pandemic has irreversibly changed numerous UK job sectors, forcing companies to change their hiring strategy.
The practice of remote working was heavily enforced – virtual meetings and working from home becoming the norm.
So how does that leave us in May 2022?
Starting with flexible or hybrid work, the rise of a four-day working week is on the horizon.
According to a recent study by YouGov, 63% of UK employees support a four-day workweek.
This summer, 60 UK companies will participate in a six-month trial of the four-day working week.
A total of 3,000 employees are involved, which all began from a campaign led by Joe Sanok.
Microsoft Japan trialled a four-day working week in 2019 and saw a 40% increase in employee happiness and productivity.
However, the concept of a four-day working week has caused some backlash on social media.
For instance, Sir Alan Sugar has described the idea as a joke on Twitter and openly disagrees with a shorter working week being productive.
Despite the criticism, other large corporate companies are beginning to relax their official rules and offer employees more freedom.
Nationwide has stepped forward and offered their staff the option of choosing remote work or being in the office.
Many are beginning to wonder what this means for the future of office work and what further relaxations will take place in years to come.
Another company launching a four-day week this summer is an accountancy firm called PwC, after having a successful trial last year.
PwC offered 22,000 of their staff to leave earlier at a Friday lunchtime, starting the 1st of June and ending on the 31st of August.
The feedback received from PwC staff was the shortened hours “impacted their general wellbeing to a great extent”.
So what are the benefits of a shorter working week?
The UK has the longest working week in Europe yet falls behind in terms of productivity. Countries with shorter working weeks (Norway, Denmark and Germany) beat the UK’s productivity – when working only 27 hours a week.
Employee Engagement and Happiness:
Fewer working hours can help improve employee satisfaction and retention.
With fewer employees travelling to work, this would help cut the company’s carbon footprint. As well as being more eco-friendly, it would cut business expenditure and save money.
Who knows what the future will hold… maybe Thursday will become the new Friday!
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