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A 4-day work week is now more important to workers than work relationships

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A four-day week is now the most desired perk when searching for a job and workers care less about bonding with colleagues, study finds.

The findings came from a recent poll of 2,000 working professionals conducted by prominent recruiter Robert Walters. Photo: Pexels

SOUTH Africa is currently trialling the innovative four-day work week through a pilot by 4 Day Week SA.

This initiative has seen debates about the seemingly seismic shifts that would need to occur in order to turn this futuristic-sounding work mode into reality.

Nearly half of professionals (46%) said they would be prepared to forego work socials and connections with co-workers in exchange for a four-day work week.

This study coincides with the official trial project for the four-day work week, which begins in South Africa in early June.

The findings came from a recent poll of 2,000 working professionals conducted by prominent recruiter Robert Walters.

According to the research, 90% of professionals would welcome their firm implementing a four-day week.

In fact, a four-day week is now the most desired perk when searching for a job, with 44% saying it would be the most appealing feature on a job description, followed by the option to work from anywhere (38%).

Although workers are willing to give up the social aspect of their jobs, nearly a third (27%) are also unwilling to accept hybrid work arrangements.

However, it appears that significantly fewer (16%) are willing to forego training chances in exchange for fewer working days.

Senior manager of Robert Walters SA, Jasmine Araujo said in statement that workplaces have only just turned a corner and started to see more faces in the office – with that has come a burst of energy, collaboration, creativity and productivity.

‘’It is a slight kick in the teeth to hear that a progressive well-being initiative such as a four-day week could have such a detrimental impact on workplace culture and business relationships.

“With the trials of four-days being so new to many organisations, the long-term impact is hard to ascertain – however with 46% of professionals willing to forego socials and business relationships, companies should be mindful that poor company culture comes at a price,’’ said Araujo.

Only 16% of professionals said they would take a 10-15% pay increase over a four-day week, and it appears that office-based soft perks like work socials or complimentary lunch or breakfasts are less appealing in the face of fewer working days, with only 2% saying they would choose this over a four-day working week.

“It is absolutely right that workplaces should be held more accountable for the wellbeing of their employees, however, professionals need to be considerate to the fact this responsibility goes both ways, and they have a duty to contribute to the success of a business, especially in this current period of economic uncertainty,’’ added Araujo.

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