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What is the Ideal UK Office Working Week?

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According to the latest research from Workthere, the ideal working week for UK-based office workers is 32 hours, six hours shorter than the current average 38 hour week, with the most favoured days being Monday to Thursday.

In a survey of over 2000 UK office workers, the serviced office specialist found that having access to flexible working hours is hugely important with only 3% of respondents claiming that flexible working does not benefit them in any way.

Overall, 71% of respondents have access to flexible working with Workthere noting that 79% of respondents working within serviced offices are offered flexible working solutions compared to 70% who work in traditional office space.

Interestingly, workers aged 25-34 spend the least amount of time in an office. In fact, this demographic spends just under six hours fewer hours in their office each week compared to workers aged 35-64.

Cal Lee, head of Workthere comments:

“Flexibility in the workplace is vital when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. There has historically been a common misconception in the office that working longer hours means you get more done and you are more dedicated, however it is important to note that working longer hours does not always lead to higher output and could have the opposite effect for productivity. The fact that the ideal working week is six hours shorter than the current average working week is a key indicator that, whilst work is still an essential factor, the needs and preferences of the UK office workforce are changing.

“It is very interesting to note from our responses that, whilst having an office is still very important to the younger generation, the ability to work flexibly and spend more time working remotely is also an option that they want to benefit from. Given that this age group have at least three decades of work ahead of them, it is crucial for employers and indeed landlords /  workspace providers to take note of this step change in the way people might want to work in the future.”

For traditional office workers, Workthere found that the most frequently cited reason for flexible working at 44% is that it helps with commuting times. In comparison, the most popular reason for flexible working for those in serviced offices at 43% is that it helps with productivity. Other key reasons stated for flexible working for serviced and traditional office space are that it makes childcare arrangements easier and helps with life admin tasks.

Jessica Alderson, global research analyst for Workthere, says:

“Flexibility is something that is increasingly becoming something that we want throughout all aspects of our lives. As a result, we are seeing it become a standard component of the workplace – something that will continue to grow and evolve moving forward. One of the key characteristics of the serviced office and co-working sector in particular is that it fully embodies the entire notion of flexibility, which has filtered across into the traditional office market, and we would expect this to be the same in terms of more flexible working structures for staff.”