Workers are no longer willing to work themselves into the ground for an employer that doesn’t listen to their needs and doesn’t provide a good employee experience.
Many employers have responded to the talent shortages by raising pay and improving benefits. These approaches have been successful, but only to an extent.
Instead, it seems that employers need to zoom in on workplace flexibility to help employees better manage their stress. Work-life balance has been largely eroded by the pandemic, with many feeling like they are not just working from home, but living at work.
Retention and the four-day week
In this context, could the four-day working week be a solution to the ‘Great Resignation’?
A study by Qualtrics suggests so. The survey of 1,000 workers in the UK found that 90% would support their employer in implementing a four-day week, and it could make 86% more loyal to their employer. Further to this, 83% thought the four-day week could help their employer attract new talent.
Talking about the findings, Qualtrics’ employee experience strategist Phil Pringle told UNLEASH: “Employees want flexibility around when they work. They’re ready to move past a strict 9-to-5 schedule and mold work to fit their needs, but they need employers to give them the space to do this.
“Business leaders have to be able to trust their employees to get the work done in a way that suits them, especially amidst the ‘Great Resignation’ when losing talent is a very real option.”
“Organizations want a clear picture of the employee experience to solve any potential pain points, and to ensure they are retaining talent – and employee sentiment around the four-day work week is one place to begin.”
In addition, Qualtrics found that 83% thought only working four days a week would improve their mental health, while 90% said it would make their work-life balance better.
This is important as 58% said that their job is their main cause of stress, and 69% struggled with work-life balance during the pandemic.
84% of those surveyed thought they would be more productive if they only worked four days a week, and only 43% thought a four-day week would negatively impact sales.
Pringle continues: “There are strong benefits to working one day less a week for both employees and employers, but before making the change, organizations need to make sure it wouldn’t create undue stress for their people.
“The good news is that our research has found the opposite, with three in five (59%) rejecting the notion that working one day less a week would create extra stress for them, and two thirds (67%) saying they are confident they can complete the same amount of work in four days as they can in five.
“The scheme is not just a benefit for employee wellbeing, it also supports the business.
“With the vast majority of people saying they would be more productive with a four-day work week, this could be the answer to balancing employee satisfaction with continuously solid results for the business.”
These are promising findings given that the UK has recently launched a four-day working week pilot. But the UK is not the only country figuring out if the four-day working week is the future of work. Iceland, Belgium, and the UAE are also working on condensed hours or shorter weeks.
It seems like 2022 may be the year the four-day week takes hold – if so, it could be another silver lining of the pandemic.