Over half (57%) of Irish office workers believe that a four-day working week is likely in the near-future as technology makes work practices more efficient, according to a new survey by Ricoh. The study also found that 43% of Irish workers expect all or part of their roles to be automated within the next five years as a result of technological advancements. I for one would certainly be up for a 4 day week but how about you???
The research, commissioned by Ricoh Europe and conducted by Coleman Parkes, involved 4,580 office workers from across 24 countries, including 150 from Ireland.
The survey also revealed that salary (54%), flexible working hours (39%), learning opportunities (38%) and a work-life balance (37%) are the top priorities for workers when looking for a job.
In terms of flexible working, more than a third (38%) of those surveyed cited it as an approach that would increase productivity in the workplace. Moreover, 35% revealed that the opportunity to work remotely more often would also boost output, with 31% identifying better tools to facilitate seamless remote working as an impactful strategy.
The findings showed that Irish employers are lagging behind their UK counterparts in facilitating flexible working options for employees. Only 41% of Irish workers feel that their employer frequently adapts its working practices to their needs, in comparison to 54% of their UK counterparts.
This sentiment is felt across all generations of the workforce in Ireland with less than half of workers agreeing that their employers are doing enough to keep up with evolving employee needs. The most recent generation to enter the workforce (Generation Z) is least impressed, with only 36% agreeing that their employers frequently adapt to meet their requirements.
Chas Moloney, director, Ricoh Ireland & UK, said: “There is no doubt that the concept of the traditional workplace has changed significantly in recent years. Interest in and appetite for a four-day work week is growing – people want to work less hours but be more effective and productive with the time they spend working.
“Therefore, it’s very disappointing that Irish business leaders are not recognising this trend and adopting more flexible ways of working to motivate, encourage and retain staff. After all, a happier workforce often equates to increased employee productivity, business performance and company growth.
“Understandably, it is more complex nowadays for employers as they have to meet the expectations of four different generations in the workplace. However, it is crucial that they do so and it’s clear from our research that every generation wants to work smarter.
“If Irish business leaders are to succeed and make the concept of the four-day work week a reality, they need to enable individual workstyles with the right technologies and agile approaches. Otherwise, they could find themselves struggling to attract, keep and empower people.”