Four day workweek_UserQ

The four-day working week has been a talking point here in the UAE for quite some time now. In fact, the whole world seems to be getting excited about the prospect of a shorter, more compact week. 

Plus, now that the Sharjah government employees just finished their four-day week trial to great success, the likelihood of more companies actually adopting a shorter week is getting more plausible. 

To find out people’s true perceptions and feelings, we carried out an investigative survey. 

A not-too-shocking spoiler: the majority of people were all for it, but there are some opinions that might surprise you…

The questions...

Not only did we want to find out whether people are open to working a four-day week, we also thought it’d be useful to gauge their thoughts on other types of company benefits. 

Using a Likert scale, we asked participants to rate how important company benefits are to their quality of work life, going from ‘Very Unimportant’ to ‘Very important’. The benefits included:

  • flexible hours
  • flexible annual leave
  • free food and drink
  • training and development
  • flight tickets
  • good working environment 
  • wellness and retreats
  • free parking
  • company discounts
  • annual bonus
  • medical insurance
  • education for your dependants.

Who did we ask? We used our UserQ panel to find suitable respondents here in the UAE, and thankfully the participant demographics were pretty evenly split, making our findings even more valid in representing UAE’s consensus as a whole:

  • Just over 200 people took the survey in total.
  • Gender split was 49% male and 51% female. 
  • Wide range of nationalities, including Indian (26%), Pakistani (12%), and Egyptian (8%). 
  • Majority age range: millennials. 

The answers…

In short, the majority of our respondents were open to the idea of a four-day working week, however, there were many other company benefits considered to be just as important – if not more important. Here are some of the survey’s biggest high-level findings:

  • 88% were open to the idea of working four days a week but 56% didn’t see the value when they understood they would have to work the same number of hours, therefore longer days, in the shorter week
  • 80% think Monday to Thursday is the ideal four-day working week.
  • 77% think a four-day week is a competitive edge when getting hired, as it helps maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Almost 74% think medical insurance coverage and a good working environment are the most important employee benefits.
  • 55% find an annual bonus very attractive when searching for employment. 
  • 74% would rather have a maternity leave that is longer than 60 days.

Conclusive thoughts…

It comes as no surprise to see most people think the flexibility of a four-day working week is both a positive and beneficial prospect – especially it being conducive to maintaining a healthier work-life balance. 

However, more than half of people also agree there doesn’t seem to be much value in working a shorter week seeing as you’re technically still working the same hours – just longer days. Whether these views are simply looking at it with a glass-half-full perspective is up for debate. 

There are also concerns about the logistics of its rollout, such as what days of the week will be worked (20% did not agree with Monday to Thursday) and whether it will interfere with other company benefits that might be deemed more important. In other words, if a company does switch to a shorter week, does that mean employees will no longer have access to an annual bonus or training and development, etc.?

Whether or not the four-day working week actually comes to fruition depends on the judgement of business owners. Will they follow most research findings like ours to please the majority of employees that are open to switching to a four-day working week? Or will they make their own decision and decide it’s not quite what the company wants or needs?

Ultimately, we think our research proves that asking employees directly if  they’re open to a shorter week is vital for knowing whether it would be a viable and positive change in the first place. 

Source: UserQ Dubai

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