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Four Day Working Week To Be Trialed In The UK

Could a four day work week be the future?

Credit: Shutterstock

The concept for a four day working week is now being trialed in the UK.

This trial allows employees to work just 80 percent of their usual week whilst still receiving 100 percent of their pay. It’s known as the 100:80: 100 model. Because you get 100 percent pay, for 80 percent of time, at 100 percent productivity. The idea is to see if this shorter week has any impact on productivity as well as employee welfare.

It’s a six month pilot scheme performed by 4 Day Week Global, Think Tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK campaign, along with researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College. They hope to get 30 businesses to participate and to mirror programmes that are already planned for elsewhere in world this year. Participating businesses will receive support from the organisers and experts for help with mentoring them through the programme.

Credit: Shutterstock

At the end of the trial they will determine just how successful the four day week can be. They will look at productivity for the business, as well as the wellbeing of its workers, along with impact on the environment and gender equality. They will compare the new figures with how the company performed on a five day week from that, more of us might be looking at getting a long weekend.

One company participating in this trial is Edinburgh based Canon Medical Research Europe, a company that employs 140 people. The president of the company, Ken Sutherland, said:

“We recognise that working patterns and the focus that we all give to our work-life balance has changed substantially during the pandemic. As a responsive employer we are always looking at how we can adapt our working practices to ensure that employees find their time with us is meaningful, fulfilling and productive. For this reason, we’re keen to pilot a four-day week to see if it can work for us.”

Previous research has suggested that a four day week can improve workers productivity and wellbeing but more research is needed for this to be definite, hence the trial scheme. 

Credit: Shutterstock

Joe O’Connor, the Pilot Programme Manager for 4 Day Week Global, has said:

“More and more businesses are moving to productivity focused strategies to enable them to reduce worker hours without reducing pay. We are excited by the growing momentum and interest in our pilot program and in the four-day week more broadly. The four-day week challenges the current model of work and helps companies move away from simply measuring how long people are ‘at work’, to a sharper focus on the output being produced. 2022 will be the year that heralds in this bold new future of work.”

Brendan Burchill, from Autonomy, has also said:

“With the social and environmental benefits of the shorter working week becoming clearer, grassroots support more widespread, and technology available to maintain productivity, the time has come for more organisations to take the leap and unravel the practicalities. This scheme has tremendous potential to progress from conversations about the general advantages of a shorter working week to focussed discussions on how organisations can implement it in the best possible way.”

Although more research needs to be done to determine whether a four day week really can be better than the five day week we find ourselves in now, I, for one, will not being saying no to an extra day off any time soon.

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