Over 3,300 workers and 70 companies are participating in the trial, which will last six months.
The pilot program was organized by 4 Day Week Global, think tank Autonomy, and the 4 Day Week Campaign, along with researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College.
Their philosophy? Work 80% of the hours and get 100% of the salary — all while improving productivity.
Juliet Schor, a professor of sociology at Boston College and the project’s lead researcher, called it a “historic trial.”
“We’ll be analyzing how employees respond to having an extra day off in terms of stress and burnout, job and life satisfaction, health, sleep, energy use, travel, and many other aspects of life,” she explained.
“The four-day week is generally considered to be a triple-dividend policy — helping employees, companies, and the climate. Our research efforts will be digging into all of this,” she added.
Companies across varying industries and locations are participating. “From a local chippy to large corporates, companies in the UK pilot provide products and services ranging from education to workplace consultancy; banking; care; financial services; IT software training; professional development and legal training; housing; automotive supply services; online retail; sustainable homecare; skincare; telco; animation studios; building and construction recruitment services; food and beverage and hospitality; digital marketing; and comprehensive case management services for people recovering from traumatic injury,” a release states.
“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,” 4 Day Week Global CEO Joe O’Connor 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,” he continued.
“When I first heard we were going to be working less hours with the same pay, I thought to myself, ‘What’s the catch?’ Usually I’m so exhausted from work I don’t have the energy, so hopefully having that extra time to rest will boost my energy levels,” said Wyatt Watts, a worker at Platten’s Fish and Chips. “Morale has improved and we’re hoping that our productivity at work is going to be higher.”
According to 4 Day Week Global’s website, “63% of businesses found it easier to attract and retain talent with a 4 day work week.”
It also claims that “78% of employees with 4 day work weeks are happier and less stressed.”