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Which jobs are most likely to shift to a four-day week?

Louri Prokhorov

Workforces around the world have dramatically changed in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic. Flexible working and hybrid approaches are becoming the norm, with Britain alone having more than 60% of businesses planning to adopt a hybrid working approach permanently within the next few years.

Now, unions and MP’s are calling for more businesses to seriously consider the 4-day working week. Companies across the world, including in Spain, Iceland, Belgium and even Scotland and Ireland, have begun to participate in shorter working week trials.

A study* looked into the probability of a 4-day work week within different job roles, and which industries were most likely to adapt to the shorter week.

The study found that jobs within the administrative and secretarial sector were most likely to drop down to a four-day working week, with the top eight jobs being in these industries:

Receptionists
Legal secretaries
Sales administrators
Bank and post office clerks
Company secretaries
Typists
Bookkeepers, payroll managers and wage clerks
Records clerks

The idea of a four-day week has become more possible mostly due to the innovation of automation that helps speed up processes and help maintain good output levels as working life changes. As technology advances, shorter working hours and weeks may become more feasible without affecting the productivity of workers with automation solutions able to help handle repetitive and rote tasks, such as appointment scheduling, email handling, payroll, shipping and inventory management and much more.

The remaining two jobs in the top ten fall under the sales and customer service umbrella; customer service and call and contact centre workers.

Helastel understood that businesses in this sector could accommodate the move to a shorter working week by investing in technologies that can reduce the need for workers to get involved with routine customer enquiries, such as live chat services, email automation and help desk software.

The study also found that roles in the professional and technical field, such as Pharmaceutical technicians, marketing and legal assistants may also be able to adapt to a shorter working week. Though many of these roles require expert insight, knowledge and skill, businesses may seek the benefits of digital adoption, allowing workers in these roles to spend more time applying their expertise on high-value tasks and less time on repetitive, routine or low-value tasks.

Louri Prokhorov, founder of Helastel said “Businesses and workers are waking up to the fact that it shouldn’t be a case of choosing between people and machines. Instead, adopting automation solutions can benefit not only your business but the people who work for you by allowing them to focus on tasks that require more human input and expertise, and giving them the opportunity to reduce their working hours.

The use of automatic equipment to speed up processes is likely to play a significant role in maintaining good output levels as we adapt to an ever changing working environment. In fact, advances in technology make it more feasible than ever before for workers to shave hours off their work schedule without hurting their productivity.

By adopting automation solutions that can handle repetitive and rote tasks the possibility of a shorter working week could be closer than we ever anticipated.”

*Study from Helastel

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