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54% of Irish professionals think 4 day working week will become a reality

Written by Robert McHugh, on 6th May 2022. Posted in Ireland

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Over half (54%) of Irish professionals believe that a four-day working week will become a reality within the next 5 years, according to new survey carried out by Hays Ireland, the leading recruiter examining over 1,500 employers and professionals across Ireland. Nineteen percent believe it will be a reality in the next 1-2 years and over a third (36%) within the next 2-5 years.  

Meanwhile, 22% believe it will become a reality in the next 5-10 years and less than a quarter 23% believe it will never happen. Since the pandemic, hybrid working models have become a workplace staple. Campaigns for a four-day week have started gaining significant traction amongst Irish-based professionals. The most frequently cited benefit of this shorter working week is employee mental health and wellbeing (56%). Other prominent benefits cited include talent attraction (14%) and talent retention (13.6%). Notably, 11% of those surveyed believe it will result in greater organisational productivity.    

The research shows that 6% of Irish workplaces have already implemented a four-day working week, 4% have implemented a four-day working week on a permanent basis, while 2% are currently operating it on a trial basis. However, as employers look for new ways to differentiate themselves from their industry peers, this trend may become more widespread in the near future. Sixty four percent of professionals claim they would be tempted to move to a different organisation if it was offering a four-day working week. 

Earlier this year, Belgium became the latest country to provide workers with the option of a four-day working week.  Belgian-based workers will still be expected to work a traditional 38-hour week, but they will now have the opportunity to complete these hours across a compressed four day working week.  Employees can request a six-month trial period, after which, should they desire, they can continue on permanent basis. Other European countries including Spain and Iceland are piloting similar four-day models.  In recent weeks, the Department of the Environment became the first Irish Government department to openly engage with the concept, having committed to undertaking a feasibility study into the working model.  

Commenting on the research, Director at Hays Ireland, Maureen Lynch said, "At face value, for many employees, the prospect of a four-day working week is extremely attractive. However, what this looks like in practise may be dependent on the industry and jurisdiction.  For some employers, this means reducing the number of hours in the traditional 40 hour working week, for others, it means compressing 40 hours a week into four days, rather than five. While the number of employers currently offering a four-day working week is still extremely low, today’s research suggests that this may soon change."

She added, "At a time when the market has never been more competitive, the proposition of a four-day working week may present an exciting new opportunity for employers to differentiate themselves from their competitors."

Source: www.businesssworld.ie 

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