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17th Jan 2022

A four day working week is being trialed in the UK

Ellen Fitzpatrick

It’s becoming more common.

A number of companies in the UK have started trialling a four day working week.

A six month pilot programme has started in the UK and is set to observe how shorter working hours benefit productivity.

In partnership with Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College, employees are keeping the same wages but for fewer hours.

Employees who are taking part in the trial must abide by the 100:80:100 principle: 100 per cent of the pay for 80 per cent of the time, but they must maintain at least 100 per cent commitment.

Researchers then work with each organisation participating in the trials and measure the impact on productivity and the wellbeing of their staff as well as the impact it has on the environment and gender equality.

The pilot taking place is working alongside similar schemes in the USA, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Joe O’Connor, Pilot Programme Manager for 4 Day Week Global, said of the trial: “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.”

Scotland and Spain have also launched trials like this and research has shown that shorter working weeks makes employees more productive.

Microsoft trialled a four day week while suffering no pay loss in their Japanese office, claiming productivity went up by 40 per cent.