Four-Day Week Trial in UK to be Made Permanent
After four months of trial, many firms participating in the four-day week experiment have decided to make it permanent, to widespread joy and acclaim from employees
In May this year, some companies across the United Kingdom began a trial of the four-day week. And, while not all firms decided to move forward with the four-day work week, at least 70 companies have agreed to adjust. Considering that around 73 companies participated in the trial, that’s almost the entire list of participants.
The key reason that most companies have decided to continue the new working schedule is that partway through the trial, data showed that productivity had been maintained or even improved at most of the firms. So, contrary to popular belief, a four-day work week doesn’t necessarily hinder productivity.
Many employees feel refreshed, have improved well-being and their productivity is boosted during a shorter work week, allowing them to be more efficient during four days than they would be across five. As a result, employees that spent more time than they really need to fulfil their jobs at the office now can use their time to relax, while time-wasters are cut off to increase productivity.
The initiative was proposed by 4 Week Global, which also runs the trial in different countries. Joe O’Connor, chief executive of 4 Week Global, stated that he’s learned how for many countries, it’s a fairly smooth transition, and for some, there are understandable hurdles. The trial was run for 4 Day Work Week, and most of the data were researched by scholars from Cambridge and Oxford Universities. 4 Day Week found out that employees could save money and parents with two children could save £3,232.40 on average per year or roughly £269.36 per month.
One of the companies to open up about their participation in the trial in the UK was Waterwise, which admitted that the team is currently happy, though incorporating the new schedule took some time getting used to at first. Most employees love having an extra day of the week to do chores and wind down without sacrificing their duties.
Companies in the UK taking these measures might motivate companies in other parts of the world to do the same, possibly even entire countries in a couple of decades’ time. Trials are also happening in the US, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
New Zealand-based company, Perpetual Guardian, conducted a similar trial study of a four-day work week where employees kept the same productivity level, and also showed improvements in job satisfaction, work/life balance and company loyalty. They also experienced less stress.
Globally, it seems a four-day work week also benefits workplace equality, allowing people not in employment due to childcare responsibilities to spend more time with their families.