'Our latest job had 90 applications': Majority of Londoners now want to move to 4-day working week

focus on calendar, Concept of four or 4 days work week showing by young man working in background and shows calendar
-Credit: (Image: lakshmiprasad S / GettyImages)

Over half of Londoners are in favour of a four-day working week, a new poll finds. The Survation poll, commissioned by the 4 Day Week Campaign, was published this week which found that 66 per cent of Londoners are in favour of a shorter working week with no loss in pay.

According to the campaign, this is the highest the four-day week has polled in the last few years, which comes after the success of its largest pilot of the scheme. The campaign promotes a new way of working where people work to live rather than live to work, calling on employers to transition into a 32 hour working week with no loss of pay.

This could look like a compressed week, such as working 8 hours a day, Monday to Thursday, or working shorter days averaging at 6.4 hours a day, Monday to Friday. The Royal Society of Biology (RSB) trialled the four day work week and has since implemented it full time, offering a shorter week on a non-contractual basis to allow employees to choose what works best for them.

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According to the Associate Director of Communications and Public Affairs at RSB, Susie Rabin, everyone has opted in. Susie Rabin said: “Working a four-day week and then having a three-day weekend, you know, it allows you for a better work-life balance and allows you to sort of, you know, maintain hobbies and other activities on a workday as well, where, you know, it might be quieter to go to a museum on a Monday or a Friday than it is necessarily at a weekend”.

Rabin also noticed a rise in applicants, with one communications role receiving 90 applications. Rabin said: “I don't know the recruitment market but certainly I've seen a lot of applicants for our jobs. You know recently, particularly our communications roles, so I do have to wonder if there's some changes in the market but maybe you're bringing up flexibility in terms of employment has interested more people in applying to work for us as well."

The campaign claims the UK works the longest hours compared to the rest of Europe while having the least productive economy. Joe Ryle, Director of the 4 Day Work Week Campaign said: “The 9-5, 5 day working week was invented 100 years ago and we are long overdue for an update.

“A four-day week with no loss of pay improves productivity and is a win-win for workers and employers.” A six-month pilot study, led by the 4 Day Work Week Campaign in 2023, found 92 per cent of companies that trialled the four day work week decided to keep the scheme with performance and productivity to have stayed the same.

The pilot also found respondents felt an improved sense of work-life balance along with a 65 per cent reduction in sick days and 71 per cent of respondents reporting lower levels of burnout. Carl Shoben, Director of Strategic Communications at Survation, said: “It looks like major pilots that have taken place have helped to move the four-day week away from being a pipe-dream to a realistic prospect for the future.”

Shoben said: “The polling on a four-day week consistently shows that support has grown since Covid." The campaign is running a summer initiative called 4UGUST, in an attempt to encourage employers to trial the scheme and give their staff a shorter working week without loss of pay for the month of August.

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