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The latest Quarterly Insights Survey by recruiting experts, Hays Scotland, shows that 53% of professionals in Scotland would be tempted to move to a company which offers a four-day week, with 32% believing this will become a reality within two to five years.

The picture is less optimistic amongst employers with only 26% believing that a four-day week will become reality in that time. Currently only 2% of employers in Scotland say they have introduced a four-day working week, while 2% are trialling it. Sixty-three per cent of employers say they aren’t considering it at all.

The research coincides with the trial of a four-day working week in June to which 60 companies across Britain have signed up. The six-month pilot, run by 4-Day Week UK, comes as companies explore more flexible working practices following workplace displacement during the Covid pandemic, with a desire to assess the validity of the standard nine-to-five, five-day working week.

The main reason cited by both employers and employees in Scotland for adopting a four-day working week was to benefit mental health and wellbeing (64% and 67%, respectively). ‘Organisational productivity’ was cited by 12% of employees as a benefit, with employers putting ‘attracting talent’ (13%) as being beneficial.

Director of Hays Scotland, Keith Mason, said:

“We’re certainly seeing companies getting more creative in what they can offer prospective staff when trying to recruit in a competitive market. But before taking the leap into a four-day week, it’s vital that employers are certain that it’s a sustainable model for maintaining productivity in the longer term.

“In the meantime, they need to be sure to get the basics right such as offering competitive salaries, along with flexible and hybrid working. We know there are a few companies in Scotland offering a four-day week, and whilst this might be seen as an attractive offering, there are many other ways for companies to stand out from the crowd. Actions such as having a strong purpose and offering staff the opportunity to take volunteer days is attractive, as is introducing wellbeing days. However, all of these additional aspects only work and will only be attractive if employers get the basics right first.”

The research also showed that 38% of employers in Scotland believe that a four-day working week will never become a reality, with 23% saying they would never consider it due to the nature of their organisation.

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