An overwhelming majority of business leaders are open to the introduction of a four day working week, a new poll suggests.
A total of 79% of more than 500 business leaders said they were either “very open” (47%) or “quite open” (32%) to a four day week, the Survation poll shared with HuffPost UK showed.
The survey, commissioned by the 4 Day Week Campaign and the think-tank Autonomy, also referenced concerns that firms could see their wage bills increase if a four day week was introduced without workers having their pay cut.
But the positive response to the idea suggested that this is not a major issue for companies, the 4 Day Week Campaign said.
Britons work longer hours than almost all other countries in western Europe but its productivity lags behind many EU rivals.
Earlier this month, Labour’s shadow employment secretary Andy McDonald said a four day week should be “increasingly trialled with the introduction of more pilot schemes”.
Treasury minister Kemi Badenoch met with Labour MP Clive Lewis to discuss the idea at the end of July and agreed to keep a dialogue going on the issue.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also replaced the coronavirus furlough scheme with a scheme that will see the government support workers doing shorter hours in a bid to help them keep their jobs during the Covid recession.
Joe Ryle, a campaigner with the 4 Day Week Campaign, said: “This is exactly the right moment to introduce a four day week with no reduction in pay across the country.
“The four day week is no longer seen as a scary idea to business because they are realising that it would boost productivity and give workers a much better work-life balance.
“It’s time for business, working with the trade unions and the government, to make it happen.”
Will Stronge, director of research at Autonomy, said: “The four day week is popular with businesses, trade unions and even Conservative voters.
“Some businesses have already begun getting on with it themselves post Covid-19 but this added support from business leaders should put the rocket boosters on.
“The UK has a unique opportunity to be a pioneer for the four day week and it’s about time we get on with it.”
:: Survation polled 515 business leaders on August 26, including owners, partners, CEOs, chairpersons, presidents, CFOs, CTOs, other chief-level executives, and directors.