The world’s biggest four-day work week trial begins in the UK today

Thousands of workers will begin a four-day work week trial from today in the UK.

The trial is the largest of its kind in the world with more than 70 companies signed up to test a shorter working week.

3,300 workers will be given 100% of their pay, for 80% of their time, on the the understanding that they maintain maximum productivity over the four days.

Those taking part span industries including banking, hospitality, care, IT, software training and even animation studios.

A four-day work week trial is beginning today in the UK. Credit: Unsplash

The six-month trial is organised by 4 Day Week Global, which is working in partnership with think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign, and a number of university researchers from Oxford, Cambridge, and Boston College.

Researchers will measure the impact on productivity and the wellbeing of staff, and also look at how a four-day working week affects the environment and gender equality.

Speaking on the start of the trial today, Joe O’Connor – CEO of 4 Day Week Global – said: “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.

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“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, also said that the four-day week is generally considered to be a “triple dividend policy” as it helps employees, companies, and the climate.

One of the companies taking part in the trial is Charity Bank, with its Chief Executive Ed Siegel saying the move to a four-day week “seems a natural next step” following the COVID-19 pandemic.

He explained: “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.

“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.”

Government-backed four-day week trials are also due to begin later this year in Spain and Scotland.

Featured Image – Unsplash

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