4pc of Irish workplaces are now on a permanent four-day work week

A Hays survey found that more than half (54pc) of Irish professionals believe a four-day work week will come to fruition within the next five years.

More than half (54pc) of Irish professionals believe that a four-day work week will become a reality in the next five years, according to a survey by Hays recruitment company.

Around 6pc of Irish workplaces have already implemented a four-day working week, with the concept growing in popularity. Hays surveyed more than 1,500 professionals and recruiters across Ireland in March to ascertain how quickly we might be able to expect a four-day week here.

Of the 6pc currently operating on a four-day week, 4pc are doing so on a permanent basis while 2pc are doing so on a trial basis.

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 – MAUREEN LYNCH

There is already an Irish campaign underway to promote the move to a shorter working week here. Last October, SiliconRepublic.com reported that 17 companies had signed up to a pilot programme run by Four Day Week Ireland.

The Irish pilot is modelled on other similar international pilots in countries such as Iceland, Canada and New Zealand. The pilot began here this year and is running for six months. Companies that signed up include Dublin-based recruitment company Yala and bioceuticals manufacturing company Soothing Solutions.

Last December, Dublin-headquartered IT company Typetec said it would introduce a four day week for its employees.

“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,” according to Hays director Maureen Lynch.

Less than a quarter (23pc) of respondents said they believed a four day working week would never happen. By contrast, 36pc think it will happen in the next two to five years, while 19pc said it would happen in the next year or two.

Almost two thirds (64pc) of professionals claimed they would be tempted to move to a different organisation if it was offering a four-day working week. 56pc of Irish believe that employee mental health and wellbeing is the leading factor for a transition to a four-day working week. 11pc said they think the move would result in greater organisational productivity. Retaining talent was also identified as a factor.

According to Lynch, “The last two years have encouraged employers to reconsider the workplace environment. The switch to remote and hybrid-working models have proven hugely successful.

“This has now opened the floor for further discussion of alternative ways of working within Irish organisations. The latest frontier is the four-day working week.”

Lynch added that there was no one-size fits all approach for companies. “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.”

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