UK hosts biggest four-day week trial

The world's largest trial of a four-day working week, involving 3,300 workers at 70 companies, got underway in the UK this week.

Concept of four-day work week, modern approach to doing business. Effectiveness of employees (employees
The six-month trial, which involves firms ranging from financial services to a take-away restaurant, will test the is based on the 100-80-100 model: 100% pay for 80% of the usual working week, with a commitment to maintain 100% productivity.

Burnout, stress, and job satisfaction: how will employees respond to having an extra day off?

Juliet Schor, a professor of sociology at Boston College and lead researcher on the project, described it as an “historic" trial.“We’ll be analysing how employees respond to having an extra day off, in terms of stress and burnout, job and life satisfaction, health, sleep, energy use, travel and many other aspects of life,” she said.“The four-day week is generally considered to be a triple-dividend policy – helping employees, companies, and the climate. Our research efforts will be digging into all of this.”In addition to the Massachusetts college, the trial is being run by the not-for-profit organisation 4 Day Week Global, the Autonomy think-tank, and the 4 Day Week UK Campaign in partnership with researchers from Cambridge University and Oxford University.

CNN: "Calls for greater flexibility have only grown louder"

The research will focus on the impact of the four-day week on productivity levels, gender equality, the environment and worker wellbeing."Calls to shorten the working week have gathered steam in recent years in several countries. As millions of employees switched to remote work during the pandemic — cutting onerous commuting time and costs — calls for greater flexibility have only grown louder," commented CNN.

Iceland study found no drop in productivity

Before now, the largest trials of four days' work for five days' pay took place in Iceland between 2015-19 and involved 2,500 public sector workers. The two trials found no drop in productivity and a significant increase in employee wellbeing.

Read more about the four-day week and the Future of Work:

Companies realising that quality of life for employees can give them the competitive edge

Joe O'Connor, chief executive of 4 Day Week Global, said in a statement that the workers have shown they can work "shorter and smarter."He added, "As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognizing that the new frontier for competition is quality of life, and that reduced-hour, output-focused working is the vehicle to give them a competitive edge."Mr O'Connor said that further, government-backed trials were set to take place in Spain and Scotland later this year.

Charity Bank: champions of flexible working one of the first in the UK to trial the four-day week

Ed Siegel, chief executive of Charity Bank, told the Guardian that his organisation was proud to be one of the first banks in the UK to trial the four-day week.“We have long been a champion of flexible working, but the pandemic really moved the goalposts in this regard. For Charity Bank, the move to a four-day week seems a natural next step," he said.“The 20th century concept of a five-day working week is no longer the best fit for 21st century business. We firmly believe that a four-day week, with no change to salary or benefits, will create a happier workforce and will have an equally positive impact on business productivity, customer experience and our social mission.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted in the Spring 2022 issue of Think Global People.

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