World's biggest 4-day workweek trial begins in UK

Experiment involves 70 companies and over 3,300 workers



Office workers in London on September 6, 2021. Photo: AFP
Office workers in London on September 6, 2021. Photo: AFP

By Reuters

Published: Thu 9 Jun 2022, 10:30 AM

Last updated: Thu 9 Jun 2022, 10:39 AM

A nationwide trial of a four-day working week began in the UK on Monday.

It involves 70 companies and over 3,300 workers, making it the largest pilot of its kind in the world.

A four-day working week does not involve a loss of pay for employees, who will be asked to maintain 100% productivity while working 80% of their hours.

The trial will measure worker well-being and business productivity, as well as impacts on the environment and gender equality.

The pilot is being run by non-profit group 4 Day Week Global in partnership with the think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK national campaign, and researchers from Cambridge and Oxford universities and Boston College.

Joe O’Connor, chief executive 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 recognizing 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,” he said.

“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.”

Scotland will undergo a similar trial later this year, while other European countries such as Belgium, Iceland and Sweden, as well as Japan and the UAE, have also tested shorter workweek models.

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