Four in 10 employees want a four-day week

four-dayAlmost half of workers at mid-sized UK businesses would like to work a four-day week, according to research.

Business decision support technology provider Momentive polled more than 2,000 UK adults and found that 45% of those working for organisations with between 50 and 499 staff would like to be offered a more condensed working pattern as a benefit.

At smaller organisations, 39% of employees wanted a four-day working week.

Unlimited holiday was desired by 33% of those at small businesses and 45% at medium-sized organisations, while health insurance was chosen by 34% and 35% respectively. Other benefits employees listed included enhanced pension contributions, mental health support and gym memberships.

The research also found that the number of British small businesses offering mental health support, counselling, and access to wellness apps had increased from 10% to 21% during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. At medium-sized firms, the proportion grew from 16% to 34% over this timeframe.

Nearly one-third (31%) of employees at small-sized businesses, and 42% of those at medium-sized businesses, admitted to being hesitant about returning to the office full-time.

Meanwhile, nearly a quarter (22%) of workers at medium-sized businesses and 16% of those at small firms expressed concern that remote work would lead to missed opportunities or less consideration of their opinions.

Almost one in four at small employers and 27% at medium-sized organisations admitted they ask the opinion of those they work with in-person more than their remote staff.

Graham Douglas, managing director of Europe, Middle East and Africa at Momentive, said that while many were eager to return to the office and see hybrid options, employers needed to keep in mind changing preferences.

“This applies to safety protocols, benefits, mentorship opportunities, flexibility and more,” he said. “Our research found that 69% of small businesses confirmed they’ve never sent out employee surveys. This number is 55% at medium-sized businesses.

“If you’re not asking what employees need to be successful and productive, you will miss out on a unique chance to innovate for them and retain key talent.”