Four-day working week could become a reality thanks to technology

People with smartphones and tablets

The TUC have issued a report that urges employers to consider switching to a four-day week.

The A future that works for working people report says that technological advances mean that work can be made more efficient and that workloads can be reduced without sacrificing pay.

The report was based on a survey of 2,145 UK workers. It found that 81% wanted to reduce their working time, with 45% in favour of a four-day week.

Nearly three quarters (74%) wanted to use technology to help them gain more control over their working lives.

However, 51% believed that only managers or shareholders would actually see any benefit from new technology. Just over a third (34%) believed the benefits would be shared equally between shareholders, managers and employees.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Working people deserve their fair share – and that means using the gains from new tech to raise pay and allow more time with their families.

“If productivity gains from new technology are even half as good as promised, then the country can afford to make working lives better.”

Claire McCartney, CIPD diversity and inclusion adviser says the most important aim to come from the report should be to drive employee flexibility, rather than focus on the four-day week.

She said “Some people might be working quite long hours, which works for them and their employer,” McCartney said. “If people have greater flexibility to choose what works for them, they are able to control their work-life balance.”

Lynn Cahillane of totaljobs agreed with McCartney and advised employers not to scrap an entire working day in order to improve employees’ life-work balance.

Cahillane said: “In the shorter term, there are simple ways companies can improve productivity without taking Friday off. This could be as simple as shortening meetings, implementing email blackout periods and encouraging full-hour lunch breaks away from desks.”

The majority of respondents (68%) believed that technology could leader to fewer dangerous jobs. Many also believe it will lead to more creative (68%) and more enjoyable (66%) jobs becoming available.

Matthew Bushell is area vice president for EMEA at corporate learning leader Skillsoft. He believes that while technology will take some pressure off the workforce, workers will also need to improve their skills in order to control the ever improving technology.

He said: “As we become more reliant on technology, the less inclined we are to take control of exceptional cases when technology fails. Keeping human skills sufficiently fresh to know when and how to intervene will become increasingly critical

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UK workers no longer believe that traditional nine-to-five working is the norm.