4-Day Work Week

UK To Test 4-Day Work Week

UNITED KINGDOM – In the biggest pilot of its kind, thousands of employees across the country have started a 4-day work week on Monday, with zero reduction to their take home salary, reported CNN on Monday evening (6 June, SGT).

The trial involves 3,300 staff from 70 firms, ranging from financial institutions to a fish-and-chip restaurant.

During the program, which will last for six months, employees will receive 100 percent of their pay despite working only 80 percent of their usual work week. In exchange, the workers vow to ensure their productivity is comparable if they had worked for 5 days.

The program is being run by think tank Autonomy, non-profit group 4 Day Week Global, and the 4 Day Week UK Campaign, in cooperation with researchers from Boston College, Oxford University, Cambridge University.

Sienna O’Rourke, Brand Manager at Pressure Drop Brewing, a brewery based in London, told CNN Business that the firm’s top objective in joining the program was to enhance the mental health and well-being of their staff.

“The pandemic [has] made us think a great deal about work and how people organize their lives. We’re doing this to improve the lives of our staff and be part of a progressive change in the world,” she explained.

Previously, Iceland had carried out the largest trial of a shorter working week from 2015 to 2019, with 2,500 civil servants involved in two large tests. Those pilots found no corresponding drop in productivity among participants and a significant increase in staff well-being.

Calls to reduce the work week have gathered momentum in the past few years in several countries. As millions of employees shifted to working from home (WFH) during the COVID-19 pandemic. At present, calls for greater flexibility have only increased.

Notably, government-backed pilots are set to occur in Scotland and Spain later this year, revealed the 4 Day Week Campaign.

Workers have demonstrated that they can work “shorter and smarter,” said Joe O’Connor, Chief Executive of 4 Day Week Global.

“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 added.

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