SINGAPORE: A recent survey conducted by human resources management consultancy ADP found that approximately three-thirds of respondents anticipate the adoption of a four-day work week as the new norm within the next five years.

According to the survey, approximately 20% of employees currently enjoy the benefits of a four-day work week, signalling an existing trend towards shorter work weeks.

While this revelation reflects a burgeoning desire for flexibility and work-life balance, some employers have warned of the complexities inherent in implementing such a system across diverse industries.

Employers, speaking to 8World, noted that the adoption of a four-day work week often forms part of flexible working arrangements aimed at meeting the evolving needs of employees.

However, they cautioned that its feasibility varies across industries.

One company head stressed the importance of approaching the transition from a sustainability perspective, suggesting that while discussions about implementing the four-day work week are underway, they remain in their preliminary stages.

A restaurant group echoed this sentiment, expressing concerns that such a system could lead to longer daily hours and heightened pressure for employees, particularly in high-intensity environments like kitchens.

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In most cases where the four-day work week is offered, the total working hours per week remain relatively constant at 44 hours. This translates to longer daily shifts, with employees typically working around 12 hours daily.

In industries such as catering, where operations typically span seven days a week, scheduling shifts can be challenging.

A catering company’s human resources director emphasised the importance of workplace safety and the need to ensure employees can safely return home to their families.

While offering the option for employees to work reduced hours to better balance work and family commitments, it was noted that only a small fraction of the workforce currently utilizes this flexibility.

Despite these challenges, ADP identified the hotel industry as particularly suited to adopting the four-day work week due to its seasonal nature.

An HR expert highlighted the potential attractiveness of such arrangements in retaining talent and reducing turnover, particularly during off-peak periods.

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Employers are grappling with the practical implications of transitioning to a four-day work week as the local workforce continues to advocate for greater flexibility and work-life balance.

While challenges persist, particularly in industries with round-the-clock operations, the survey findings suggest a growing momentum towards reshaping traditional work structures in favour of more adaptable and employee-centric models.