A new survey shows that nearly two-thirds of employees prefer flexible work arrangements over a four-day work week. The over 1000 employees polled are from several industries from information technology (IT) to retail.

The online poll from US firm Qualtrics, carried out last month, showed that the respondents felt concerned over the long working hours a four-day work week would entail. However, many of the respondents acknowledged that an additional day of rest in the week would be beneficial for their mental health.

The survey showed that 64 per cent of the full-time employees polled said they prefer flexibility over a four-day working week.

Interestingly, flexibility is a bigger reason given for retention (66 per cent) than one day less of work (50 per cent).

Hesitation over the four-day week appears to stem from the following reasons: 78 per cent of the respondents said they anticipate working longer hours if such a scheme is implemented, while 62 per cent expressed concerns that customers would be frustrated with a shorter work week.

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However, 86 per cent of the employees said one less working day would be advantageous to their mental health, while 89 per cent said this type of arrangement may improve work-life balance.

Additionally, 87 per cent also said the shorter week would make them more loyal to their employers.

But then again, over half of the respondents (55 per cent) said they believe there will be a dip in company performance if a four-day work week is followed.

When it comes to flexibility, one-third of the respondents defined it as having control of their working hours, while 26 per cent said it means being able to work from anywhere, and 19 per cent said it’s being able to choose their days of work.

The poll also showed that 70 per cent of the respondents said that their job is the main source of the mental health challenges they face.

However, when asked whether working remotely affects their mental health, 24 per cent said it has a positive effect, while 22 per cent said it has a negative effect on their mental health.

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Additionally, even though many respondents said they preferred flexibility with work, a significant number (70 per cent) also said they believe this would have a negative impact on career advancement.

Ms Lauren Huntington, the Employee Experience Solution Strategist – Southeast Asia, Qualtrics, said, “Among the buzz surrounding new working models, employers must not lose sight of the fact that what employees really want and have come accustomed to is the flexibility to adjust their work schedules to fit the demands of their lives.

Increasingly, we’re seeing people make career decisions and find fulfillment in their jobs by working for organizations that truly understand and respond to their needs, and where they feel they belong. That’s why the most important part of any working model isn’t simply the hours or days worked – it’s being able to understand and meaningfully deliver what people want and expect to ensure everyone benefits from the transformations underway.”


Netizens weigh in on possibility of 4-day work week in Singapore