Thank God it’s…Thursday?
According to data from Advanced Workplace Associates, office attendance in the UK has fallen to just 13% on Fridays.
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Thursdays are officially the new Fridays, with workers spending their Thursday evenings in pubs and bars and waking up on Friday morning with a hangover. Friday after-work drinks are a thing of the past, with people favouring lunchtime meet-ups and instead saving their evenings for family time.
June saw the start of a four-day working week pilot for thousands of UK employees. Applying the 100-80-100 approach, workers get 100% of their salary for 80% of the hours, as long as they retain 100% productivity. Four-day working weeks are definitely attractive to new applicants; Atom bank reported a four-fold increase on job applications that incorporated them, and overall staff absence reduced by 70%.
Since the pandemic, many UK workers are actively prioritising family life, downtime, and less commuting. There’s little wonder that organisations have seen an increased interest in four-day working weeks, flexible hours, and hybrid working arrangements.
Forced to implement homeworking overnight at the outset of the pandemic helped employees recognise how much time they wasted in unnecessary meetings, with office chatter, and just on general distractions. A four-day working week gives people an incentive to work harder; they complete all their tasks Monday to Thursday to get Fridays off.
However, with the ever-increasing cost-of-living—specifically energy price rises—it’s expected that many UK workers may actually return to the office this winter and possibly a five-day working week. Uswitch estimates that employees working from home this winter would use 25% more electricity, and a whopping 75% more gas in their domestic bills.
Homeworking is favoured by many because of the reduced commuting time and cost. UK employees would have to calculate whether it would be more cost-effective to work from home and suffer escalating energy bills, or if it would be cheaper to commute into the office and take advantage of their employer paying for the heating and electricity they use whilst they work.
The future looks precarious for businesses; energy prices present a huge threat for SMEs. The lack of a price cap for companies means that bills have skyrocketed by more than 1000%, and many businesses face imminent collapse. For some employees, the choice between remote or office working may not be one they get to make…employees can only return to the office this winter if their company can avoid shutting down entirely.