Full-time UK office workers no longer want to work the traditional 9-to-5, according to a new survey of 1,677 by office suppliers Viking.

The research supports the Trade Union Congress’s (TUC’s) recent announcement that Britain should move to a four-day working week1, with more than half of employees willing to work longer hours each day to get a shorter working week.

Most only want to work four days:

  • 75% want to work Monday
  • 93% want to work Tuesday
  • 93% want to work Wednesday
  • 91% want to work Thursday

Only 50% of people want to work on Fridays.

Asked how they would like to split their hours over these days to maintain a full-time week, respondents said:

  • Nine hours on Monday
  • Ten hours on Tuesday
  • Ten hours on Wednesday
  • Nine hours on Thursday

60% of people would want to start their working day at 8am under this new schedule. This means the ideal working week for most employees is Monday to Thursday, 8am to 6pm, with either later starts or earlier finishes.

Location, Location, Location

Location of the working week looks set to change too if employees’ voices are heard.

  • 59% of workers want to work at least part of their week from home.
  • 19% of workers want to work remotely between 90% and 100% of the time, but the mean demand is for one-third of time (35%) to be available for remote working.

This issue looks set to become more important as younger workers move up the office hierarchy. Over two-thirds (68%) of 16-to-25-year-old workers want the option to work from home, compared to just over one half (54%) of over 55s.

Currently 42% of employees think their company doesn’t give enough remote working time, and almost a third (29%) say that their current working arrangement has a negative effect on their personal life. Making changes to reflect what employees want will have a positive effect on these figures.

Remote working can make staff more productive as they are in a relaxed atmosphere, without distractions popping up that could interrupt work. In the office, meetings, colleagues and unexpected tasks can interfere with planned work. Allowing for some time away from these allows workers to focus in on tasks that need to be done.


Viking undertook this survey to uncover how employers can help their staff balance work and personal life in the 21st century. If changes are made they look set to improve things for both employees and businesses:

  • 61% of people think changing working hours would make them more productive
  • 70% think it would make them happier
  • 65% say it would reduce stress
  • 62% think it would boost relationships
  • 51% think it would increase motivation
  • 54% would be more creative
  • 68% would be better rested


This survey shows that the 9 to 5 way of working is not the way forward for most employees, the pressures of modern life meaning this schedule no longer works for them. Instead, workers want control of working location and longer working days in a trade-off for three-day weekends.

These demands may not be achievable for all businesses or industries, but, to recruit and retain the best staff, it is important to be aware of and work towards them where possible.


To see full details and breakdown of the survey results see the Viking blog.