Four-day week trial deemed a success

It's a thumbs-up for a 4 day week...

4 day week
A survey halfway through the world's largest trial of the four-day working week has found that the overwhelming majority of businesses involved have given it the thumbs-up.Some 86 per cent of the 73 UK companies taking part in the international project now say they are "likely" to retain the four-day week when the trial ends in December.The six-month trial, which involves more than 3,000 workers at firms ranging from financial services to a take-away restaurant, is based on the 100-80-100 model: 100 per cent pay for 80 per cent of the usual working week, with a commitment to maintain 100 per cent productivity.Juliet Schor, a professor of sociology at Boston College, is lead researcher on the project, which also involves the not-for-profit organisation 4 Day Week Global, the Outcomes First Group and the Autonomy think-tank, along with researchers from Cambridge University and Oxford University.

Similar, smaller pilot projects are underway in the US, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.The survey of how the UK trial had progressed so far found that 46 per cent of respondents reported their productivity levels had been maintained, while 34 per cent said there had been a slight improvement and 15 per cent reporting a "significant" improvement.According to 4 Day Week Global, companies with reduced hours of working, self-report large reductions in sick days along with increases in productivity, higher talent attraction and retention, deeper customer engagement, and improved employee health.Sharon Platts, chief people officer for the wellbeing charity Outcomes First Group, described the results so far from the UK project as "transformational".She added: "We've been delighted to see productivity and output increase and have also been able to make it work in our education and care services, which we thought would be far more challenging.
"While it's still early days, our confidence in continuing beyond the trial is growing and the impact on colleague wellbeing has been palpable."The research found that the only businesses having difficulties with the four-day week were "old-fashioned" companies where traditional work patterns were entrenched.Joe O'Connor, chief executive of 4 Day Week Global, said: "We are learning that for many it is a fairly smooth transition and for some there are some understandable hurdles - especially among those which have comparatively fixed or inflexible practices, systems, or cultures which date back well into the last century."Nicci Russell, managing director of environmental firm Waterwise - one of the businesses taking part in the pilot - told the BBC that the four-day week had taken some getting used to."It wasn't a walk in the park at the start," she said, "but no major change ever is. We have all had to work at it. Some weeks are easier than others and things like annual leave can make it harder to fit everything in, but we're much more settled with it now overall than we were at the start."We certainly all love the extra day out of the office and do come back refreshed. It's been great for our wellbeing and we're definitely more productive already."

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