UK firms launch biggest trial to explore four-day working week
June 7, 2022 — In an ongoing effort to improve work-life balance, a new scheme has launched in Britain which aims to answer the question “Can you work just four days a week and be still as productive as you worked five? ”
Some 3,300 workers from 70 UK companies – in sectors including banking, retail, healthcare and marketing – launched a pilot scheme this week, the biggest trial of its kind.
They will receive their full pay for working only four days instead of five – in exchange for trying to maintain their productivity, CNN reporting.
Even before the pandemic upended work habits around the world, many employees and businesses were exploring alternatives to the traditional Monday-Friday routine.
Then Covid-19 brought a range of responses, like working from home, setting individual schedules and trying to operate more efficiently.
A large-scale trial in Iceland found none too much in productivity – as well as a marked improvement in self-reported well-being. Experiments have also been launched in other countries, including the United States, where people want more freedom and flexibility.
“After the pandemic, people want work-life balance,” said Joe Ryle, campaign manager for one of the UK initiative’s funders. New York Times. “They want to work less.”
Boston College researcher and author Juliet Schor said The temperature she wants to see how that extra day off improves “stress and burnout, job and life satisfaction, energy consumption, travel, and many other aspects of life.”
The non-profit association 4 day week, based in New Zealand, says companies get better talent when they shorten the working week. And it revealed that 78% of workers are happier and less stressed.
“A hundred years ago we went from six working weeks to five, and we are waiting for an update,” the organization says on its website. “Covid-19 has clearly shown that we can find a better balance between work and life. Eighty-five percent of American adults already approve of the move to a four-day week. Let’s act together. »
An article in the harvard business review put it this way: “No matter what we do, a holistic, long-term approach to workforce well-being is the best path to happiness and prosperity. Maybe the answer is a four-day work week. Or maybe it’s something else. But we need to start with an honest assessment of the impact of productivity and time trade-offs on worker well-being.