The Future of Work – France

The French working environment

Filter the map below to see how the mood of French workers compares to those in other markets:

Content and exhausted: mixed feelings in French workplaces

French workers are mixed when it comes to their feelings at work, with equal proportions reporting feeling content and exhausted (both 29%). Female workers are far more likely than males to feel exhausted at work with over a third (36%) of females report feeling exhausted compared to a fifth (20%) of males.

A quarter of French workers report feeling calm and okay (both 26%) indicating a level of tranquillity in the workplace. A further quarter are engaged in work with 26% feeling motivated and 23% productive.

Nevertheless, feelings of frustration (17%), anxiety (16%) and a sense of being overwhelmed (16%) are still present. In line with this, less than one in ten (7%) French respondents report feeling loved at work. There is some optimism among French workers, with one in five (20%) reporting feeling hopeful and 15% supported. Only one in ten (11%) of all the workers surveyed report feeling angry and only 10% feeling sad.

Workplace culture

French workers equally as comfortable discussing mental health or pay rise with their boss

A third (36%) of the French workers say they feel comfortable asking for time off work for mental health reasons, compared to 28% who feel uncomfortable.

Similarly, just under half (49%) feel comfortable asking for time off to care for someone else compared to only 17% who feel uncomfortable.

Despite this, 15% revealed they have lied to their boss about taking time off work for mental health reasons.

When it comes to career-related discussions, French respondents feel as comfortable discussing these topics with their boss as they do their mental health. Two fifths (39%) say they feel comfortable asking their boss for a pay rise while three in ten (29%) feel uncomfortable. Almost the same proportion (37%) feel comfortable asking for a promotion, compared to almost a third (29%) who feel uncomfortable doing this.

There are notable gender differences when it comes to pay rise discussions. While almost half (47%) of male respondents feel comfortable asking for a pay rise, only 31% of females feel the same way.

Similarly, while 45% of male workers feel comfortable asking for a promotion, only 30% of females feel the same way.

Do French workers and employers share mutual respect?

Future of work

Three fifths say a 4-day working week would positively impact their wellbeing, but is it realistic?

There have been global conversations among governments and businesses about the possibility of reducing the 5-day working week to just 4 days, but do French workers think it’s realistic?

Three fifths (62%) of French respondents say reducing their working week to 4 days would positively impact their wellbeing, rising to 68% of the females and dropping to 56% of males.

Across the sample, half (51%) think they’d be more productive working within 4 days, indicating that workers could be more engaged and produce better work if their week was shortened.

Three in ten (30%) would even go as far as saying they would relocate to another country that allowed the 4-day working week if theirs didn’t, indicating the impact it could have on staff retention if it’s implemented.  

Nevertheless, despite a generally favourable view of the 4-day working week not all of the French respondents think it’s realistic. Two fifths (41%) say they don’t know how they’d fit their workload into 4 days and almost a half (45%) don’t think their employer would ever go for it.

Digital transformation hopes and fears

In the last year, a rapid shift toward automation in the workplace has sparked conversations around the potential benefits and challenges for businesses and their workers. Simultaneously, businesses are increasingly confronted by a looming threat of a cyberattacks or security breaches.

In France, almost a quarter (23%) say are worried their role could be replaced by automation, in line with the European average (also 23%). However, when it comes to cyber-attacks, French respondents are far less likely to be concerned. Only 14% worry they’ll fall victim to a cyber-attack at work compared to 21% across all European markets.

Despite notable concerns among the French workers, there are signs of optimism when it comes to advanced technologies. When thinking about how artificial intelligence will impact their organisation, one in four (25%) French workers think it will be a good thing overall.

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