Four-day working weeks have long been rumoured, but often felt like a bit of a pipe dream. Studies outlining the benefits – including increased productivity and improved staff morale – have been released, other countries have trialled the idea; hell, most of us even give it a shot every year on bank holiday weekends. That, however, does usually feel like the best we’re going to get.
But now, a pilot scheme has been launched, giving us some further fresh hope that a four-day week could happen 52 times in a calendar year. A six-month trial including around 70 companies in Britain has begun today, with employees involved receiving the same pay they would for a five-day week, in exchange for full productivity over four days.
This pilot is led by 4 Day Week Global, in conjunction with think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, plus academics from both Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The scheme doesn’t stop in the UK either, with similar trials expected to be carried out in the US, Canada, Australia and more.
So far, six companies in the UK have joined up the pilot, with the final number expected to be between 20 and 30. 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.”
Researchers will measure a number of variables as the six-month trial unfolds, including the wellbeing of staff and how the four-day work week could impact the environment. The organisers believe that the five-day work week is a “20th-century concept” that’s no longer fit for 21st-century life, and hope to prove that the four-day work week could benefit both employee and employer during the experiment.
Read more about 4 Day Week Global here.