Cartoon of a person holding a giant pencil crossing off days on a giant calendar in a four day work week concept.
Image: © Nuthawut/Stock.adobe.com

6pc of Irish workplaces now have a four-day work week, research says

6 May 2022

More than half of Irish professionals surveyed by Hays 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, and 64pc would be tempted to move to an organisation offering a shorter week.

That’s according to a survey of nearly 900 employers and professionals in Ireland by recruitment company Hays.

Future Human

Hays said its research suggests that around 6pc of Irish workplaces have already implemented a four-day working week, with 4pc doing so on a permanent basis and 2pc doing so on a trial basis.

There is already an Irish campaign underway to promote the move to a shorter working week. By last October, 17 companies had signed up to a six-month pilot programme run by Four Day Week Ireland.

The Irish pilot was modelled on other similar international initiatives in countries such as Iceland, Canada and New Zealand. Companies that signed up included Dublin-based recruitment company Yala and bioceuticals manufacturing company Soothing Solutions.

Last December, Dublin-headquartered IT company Typetec also said it would introduce a four-day week for its employees in a bid to improve work-life balance.

‘The proposition of a four-day working week may present an exciting new opportunity for employers to differentiate themselves from their competitors’
– MAUREEN LYNCH

“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,” said Hays Ireland director Maureen Lynch.

“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.”

Less than a quarter (23pc) of those surveyed by Hays said they believe a four-day working week would never happen. But 36pc said they think it will happen in the next two to five years, while 19pc said it will happen in the next year or two.

More than half (56pc) cited employee mental health and wellbeing as the main benefit of a four-day working week, while 11pc said they think the move would result in greater organisational productivity. Attracting and retaining talent was also identified as a potential benefit.

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

“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.”

While the four-day week concept may become more common in the coming years, Lynch noted that there is 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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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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