One in five would use extra day to volunteer if working a four day week

13th April 2023

  • Research carried out by Hays, which received responses from over 11,800 employers and professionals, reveals the potential impact the four-day working week could have on society
  • Almost a third of respondents believe a four-day week would be beneficial for the environment
  • If given the opportunity to work a four-day week, one in five would spend their day off volunteering
  • Hays encourages employers to think of other ways to support civic duties for staff such as offering volunteering days at least once a year

The four-day working week is believed to be a good idea by a large majority and could in fact improve a drive towards civic duties such as volunteering, according to new research.

The research released by Hays, which received over 11,800 respondents, found that close to a third (31%) believe the four-day week could have a beneficial impact on the environment. Other perceived benefits of this way of working include improved employee health and wellbeing (89%) and improved organisational productivity (59%).

The research comes after the official four-day week trial in the UK concluded with 56 out of the 61 companies who entered the trial planning to extend it. 18 of the 56 companies have already made the four-day week a permanent fixture within their organisation.

How would workers use the extra day?

When asked how they would use an extra day off if they were working a four-day week, one in five workers (21%) said they would use the day to volunteer. Learning and development would also be on the cards as 40% said they would like to use the extra day for self-development such as learning a new skill or language.

Workers would also like to use the time do life admin (76%), use the day for leisure time and exercise (69%) and spend time with family/friends (69%). 15% said they would use the day to take on extra work or freelance projects.

Four-day week is still up for debate for many

A large majority of respondents (93%) believe the four-day working week is a good idea, however only 5% of organisations surveyed say they have implemented a four-day week (no change from 2022), whilst 17% are now considering it, increasing from 9%.

Of the companies who said they aren’t trialling a four-day working week and aren’t considering it (58%), over half said this was because they are not prepared from an operational perspective. 46% said they were concerned about the effect on productivity, 20% were concerned about the pressure on staff, whilst 19% said they weren’t prepared from a financial perspective.

Karen Young, Director at Hays, commented:

“Although a wider roll out of the four-day week is still up for debate, it’s encouraging to see the clear appetite from staff with regards to spending more time volunteering and working on their self-development.

Especially in a skills short market, I’d urge employers to consider ways in which they could facilitate this for staff, without implementing a four-day working week. For example, offering staff a day or more a year

to volunteer within their local communities is a great way to start with many organisations already doing so.

At Hays, for example, we offer paid volunteering days to all our employees as part of our “Helping for your tomorrow” global programme. We partner with charities like Trees for Cities, where employees spend a working day planting trees and doing conservation work to help create greener, healthier towns and cities for future generations. As this example illustrates, an increase in professionals volunteering can also have positive benefits for sustainability. On top of this, volunteering is personally rewarding and can create a sense of belonging and wider purpose which could, in turn, benefit employee wellbeing and mental health.

Similarly, there’s a clear want from professionals for self-development, so facilitating time for staff to learn something new that might not be related to their job role is encouraged. There’s plenty of ways employers can support this by providing access to online learning, or a dedicated time when they can pursue learning outside of the workplace.”




About the research: These findings are based on a survey carried out between 6th February to 20th February 2023 that received 11,889 responses from employers and professionals across the UK.


For more information contact:

Chloe May
PR Executive

About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is the world’s leading specialist in workforce solutions and recruitment, such as RPO and MSP. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK, Germany and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2022, the Group employed over 13,000 staff operating from 255 offices in 33 countries. For the year ended 30 June 2022:

  • the Group reported net fees of £1,189.4 million and operating profit of £210.1 million;
  • the Group placed around 83,750 candidates into permanent jobs and around 250,000 people into temporary roles;
  • 16% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 26% in Germany, 22% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 36% in Rest of World (RoW);
  • the temporary placement business represented 55% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 45% of net fees;
  • Technology is the Group’s largest division, with 26% of net fees, while Accountancy & Finance (14%) and Construction & Property (11%), are the next largest
  • Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, UAE, the UK and the USA
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