The biggest four-day working week pilot begins in the UK

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70 companies across the UK from different sectors are to take part in a four-day week pilot, starting on 6 June 2022, which will be the biggest scheme in the world.

The research comes as businesses face unprecedented change in the way people want to work post-pandemic, with flexible working applications also on the rise.

The trial is being conducted by 4 Day Week UK Campaign alongside researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College. The purpose of the scheme is to determine whether a four-day week improves the mental and physical well-being of employees during this period. The scheme will run for a period of six months.

Staff will only work four days a week rather than typically five, yet remain paid in full. Generally, businesses will vary which days staff members are allowed to take off to ensure coverage of services across the traditional working week.

If results demonstrate that productivity remains the same or increase, it could lead to a number of business leaders adopting a new approach to how their workforce work.

Joe O’Connor CEO of 4 Day A Week Global 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.” The research will seek to establish whether this is the case.

What are the advantages of a four-day work week?

Productivity

Research has shown by having flexible working people can be more productive. For example, research undertaken by Microsoft in Japan showed that when a four-day working week was trialled it led to a 40% increase in productivity.

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Engaging in having a four-day working week, may demonstrate that the employer is forward thinking.

Gender equality

According to 4-Day Week Campaign women take on a greater share of the childcare responsibilities which in turn reduces their ability to go into higher earning roles with their employers. Having a four-day week could give opportunities to spread the childcare responsibilities more evenly.

Green benefits

By working fewer days, employees will not need to make as many trips to the office which in turn will lead to a reduced carbon footprint as a result of the commute to and from work.

What are the disadvantages of a four-day work week?

Risk of burnout

Compressing more working hours into a shorter amount of time may cause increased pressure to get work done and therefore spending more hours at the desk and taking fewer breaks.

Divisive

Resentment may arise amongst colleagues if it is felt that some colleagues are pulling their weight more than others.

Industry specific

Certain industries may face a reduction in income or productivity by the simple fact of not having as many people working every day.

Flexible working

Working one day a week less is not the only answer to a diverse range of flexible working options.

Contact our employment law solicitors today

If you have any questions or would like advice on agile working, please get in touch with our specialist Employment Law team through this website or by calling 0330 191 4836.

Our partners at Ashtons HR Consulting are also on hand to assist you.


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