Four-day week is to be tested for thousands of employees starting today

MONDAY 6AM: 3,300 workers in the UK will start a four-day week Getty from today

For these people, it will be like having a holiday every week – and they won’t lose a salary (Picture: Getty Images / fStop)

Seventy businesses across the UK will take part in a four-day week pilot from today.

The process, which will involve more than 3,300 workers, is the largest of its kind in the world to date.

The pilot project does not see any wage cuts for employees who work one day less per week. Instead, they are asked to stay at 100% productivity 80% of their time.

From a local fish and chip shop to large corporations, a wide range of companies participate.

Joe O. Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global said: “The UK stands behind the four day week at the culmination of a wave of global momentum.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are realizing that the new frontier of competition is quality of life and that working efficiently with reduced hours is the means to give them a competitive advantage.

“The impact of the ‘big resignation’ is now proving that workers across a wide range of industries can achieve better results while working shorter hours and working smarter.”

The study will run for six months and is being conducted by 4 Day Week Global in collaboration with think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign and researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College.

Office workers on their way to lunch

The pilot, which will involve more than 3,300 workers, is the largest of its kind in the world (Image: Getty Images)

Researchers will work with each organization to study worker well-being and measure the impact on productivity across the organization. You will also see if the change will impact the environment and gender equality.

Similar four-day-a-week trials are also set to begin in Scotland and Spain later this year.

Simon Ursell of landscape design firm Tyler Grange, which is participating in the pilot, said: “Our discussions on this initiative began four years ago. Like many people in our industry – including our competitors and customers – we were pretty tired. The conversations within the team revolved around our occupation, our work to be done and the lack of time to really live.

“We know that mental health issues are common in counseling. It’s an industry too often plagued by growing demands, tightening timelines and increasing complexity.

“Mental and physical burnout is a real problem that can no longer be glossed over. It’s time for a change.

“The pilot program made it clear that now is the time to act. We know the benefits to employee well-being and we know that productivity can be increased by up to 15%.

“We’ve worked incredibly hard over the past four years to make this a reality. So what are we waiting for?’

mass of commuters

Imagine if you only had to do this four days a week… (Image: Getty Images)

But Professor Emma Parry, from Cranfield School of Management in Bedfordshire, warned employers they must work hard to make the transition to a four-day workweek effective for both employees and the company.

“The concept of a four-day work week challenges the current working model and there is currently some evidence of the positive impact this can have on a workforce,” she said.

“We know from studies in countries like Canada, Belgium and Iceland that the ability to work fewer days can increase employee satisfaction, organizational engagement and teamwork if implemented effectively.

“However, we should by no means assume that being able to reduce working hours will necessarily improve work-life balance, well-being or productivity.

“The danger here is that employers will allow employees to reduce hours without taking the steps to develop management practices and organizational culture that will effectively facilitate this change.

Some of the UK companies participating in the study

  • Yo telecom
  • Adzooma
  • Brewing with pressure drop
  • Happy
  • Platters Fish and Chips
  • MBL seminars
  • euro car
  • Literally
  • Results First group
  • NeatClean
  • 5 squirrels
  • salamander
  • Tyler Grange
  • Girling Jones
  • AKA case management
  • IE Brand & Digital
  • Helping Hands
  • trio media
  • Literal People
  • anatomy

“Employers also need to realize that flexibility and control over when and where they work often drives employee satisfaction and engagement. Introducing a shorter work week without these elements might not have the desired effect.

“It’s also important that they encourage connectivity between remote and office workers – employers have a duty to ensure people don’t feel isolated and should make adjustments to help all employees cope with changing work patterns to become.”

Recent research found that around 72% of office workers in the UK said they would prefer a four day work week.

And nearly 130,000 people have now signed a petition calling on the government to introduce a four-day work week.

Several organizations recently told why they are so enthusiastic about the forward-looking idea.

Juliet Schor, a professor of sociology at Boston College and principal investigator on the pilot, said, “I look forward to working on the research side of this historical experiment.

“We will analyze how employees react to an extra day off in relation to stress and burnout, work and life satisfaction, health, sleep, energy consumption, travel and many other aspects of life.

“The four-day week is generally regarded as a triple dividend policy – ​​in favor of employees, the company and the climate. Our research efforts will address all of this.’

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Justin Scacco

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