More than 3,300 workers and 70 UK companies will begin working a four-day week with no loss of pay today (Monday) in the biggest four-day week pilot to take place in the world so far.
Participating organisations are trialling a four-day week with no loss of pay for employees, based on the principle of the 100:80:100 model – 100% of the pay for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment to maintain at least 100% productivity.
The pilot is running for six months and is being organised by 4 Day Week Global in partnership with think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign, and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College.
From a local chippy to large corporates, companies in the UK pilot provide products and services ranging from education to workplace consultancy, banking, care, financial services, IT software training, professional development and legal training, housing, automotive supply services, online retail, sustainable homecare, skincare, telecommunications, animation studios, building and construction recruitment services, food and beverage and hospitality, digital marketing, and comprehensive case management services for people recovering from traumatic injury.
Researchers will work with participating organisations to measure the impact on productivity in the business and the wellbeing of its workers, as well as the impact on the environment and gender equality.
Government-backed four-day week trials are also due to begin later this year in Spain and Scotland.
Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, said: “The UK is at the crest of a wave of global momentum behind the four-day week. As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognising 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. The impact of the 'great resignation' is now proving that workers from a diverse range of industries can produce better outcomes while working shorter and smarter.”
Juliet Schor, professor of sociology at Boston College, and lead researcher on the pilot, said: “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. 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.”
Ed Siegel, CEO of Charity Bank, which is participating in the pilot, said: “We have long been a champion of flexible working, but the pandemic really moved the goal posts in this regard. For Charity Bank the move to a four-day week seems a natural next step. 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. We are proud to be one of the first banks in the UK to embrace the four-day week.”
The four-day work week was announced in January with many more companies signing up to it by February and beyond – with interest rising post-pandemic. Last year, an Iceland study showed a four-day work week improved wellbeing and productivity.