A six-month pilot programme to trial a four-day working week has been launched in the UK.
Participating companies will trial a four-day week with no reduction in pay for employees, based on the so-called 100:80:100 model – 100 per cent of the pay for 80 per cent of the time, in exchange for a commitment to maintain 100 per cent productivity.
The trial has been organised by 4 Day Week Global in collaboration with think-tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign and researchers at Cambridge, Oxford and Boston College.
Research suggests 78 per cent of employees with four day working weeks were happier and reported being less stressed.
‘Bold new future’
Joe O’Connor, pilot programme manager for 4 Day Week Global, 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.”
Six UK companies have signed up to the trial so far, with a number of firms – including Unilever – said to be considering joining.
Tech firm Canon, which is involved in the pilot, will be offered a package of support – including workshops, mentoring and networking.
Researchers will work with each organisation to measure the impact of the changes on their productivity, the well-being of workers and the impact on the environment and gender equality.
‘Take the leap’
Brendan Burchell, professor in social sciences at the University of Cambridge, 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.”
The UK trial will run alongside others in the US, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Governments in Spain and Scotland have already launched trials of a four-day week, with Nicola Sturgeon vowing to create a “better work-life balance” in her last manifesto.