HomeBusinessWorld's largest four-day working week trial begins in UK

World’s largest four-day working week trial begins in UK

Previous research on the shortened workweek has shown increases in employee productivity and happiness.

Previous research on the shortened workweek has shown increases in employee productivity and happiness.
Photo: Christophe Furlong (Getty Images)

The four day work week has officials converged on the UK. It is part of a six-month-long-term pilot program, the largest of its kind. This means that thousands of workers in the UK will be able to enjoy an extra day off, without a pay cut.

More than 3,300 employees from 70 different companies are taking part in the UK trial of the four-day working week. That’s according to a press release from 4 Day Week Global, the nonprofit that organizes the research around this most recent effort to examine reducing a working day. 4 Day Week Global says this is the largest pilot program of its kind, where, as long as workers maintain 100% of their productivity, they will also maintain 100% of their wages while working 80% of the traditional workweek. The companies involved range from fish and chip shops to public relations firms to tech companies. 4 Day Week Global is also partnered with Autonomy, a labor think tank, as well as researchers from the University of Cambridge, Boston College and the University of Oxford.

“The UK is on the peak of a wave of global momentum behind the four-day week,” Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, said in a press release. “As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognizing that the new frontier of competition is quality of life, and that short-time, performance-driven work is the way to give them an edge. competitive.”

Perpetual Guardian, the estate planning company of 4 Day Week Global founder Andrew Barnes, ran a similar pilot program in New Zealand for eight weeks in 2018. The program involved 240 Perpetual Guardian employees and was a collaboration with researchers from the University of Auckland and the University of Auckland. technology, as described in a white paper. According the Guardianthe researchers involved in this pilot project collected qualitative and quantitative data before, during and after the eight-week-long trial period, and they found that 78% of employees felt better about their work-life balance, with increased productivity and reduced stress. The UK pilot program will be able to expand the reach of these results, and 4 Day Week Global has also begun the admissions process for a pilot program for the US and Canada.

The four-day workweek is an alluring reconfiguration of the traditional workforce. Microsoft has experimented with the four-day week in its offices in Japan in 2019, and recorded an increase in sales per employee and an increase in employee happiness. In 2021, California Representative Mark Takano introduce the idea as potential legislation in the United States, citing the effect of the pandemic on unemployment as a factor.

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