A groundbreaking four day week pilot programme has generated positive feedback - with 86 percent of firms taking part saying they plan to keep the new model.
The pilot involves more than 3,300 workers at 70 UK companies, ranging from a local fish and chip shop to large corporates. Employees receive the same level of pay and enjoy the bonus of three-day weekends - but they have to promise to maintain productivity. The year-long study into the benefits of a shorter working week run by 4 Day Week Global hit its half-way point last week.
At this mid-way stage the feedback is promising with 88 percent of companies saying it was ‘working well’, while nearly half revealed productivity had stayed around the same level, despite the drop in hours. Over a third reported a ‘slight’ improvement in productivity and 15 percent said the boost was significant.
4 Day Week Global CEO Joe O’Connor admitted that, for some companies, the model had not been without its teething troubles, but he said that most experienced “pleasing discoveries and outcomes.”
O’Connor said: “Essentially, they are laying the foundation for the future of work by putting a four day week into practice, across every size of business and nearly every sector, and telling us exactly what they are finding as they go.”
Some of the positive results from the experiment include that 63 percent of businesses found it easier to attract and retain talent with a 4 day week, and 78 percent of employees with 4 day weeks are happier and less stressed.
Apart from theoretically generating a stronger, more productive economy and happier workforces, other arguments in favour of the 4 Day Week concept include:
A smaller carbon footprint;
Employees are less prone to sickness and absenteeism and make up a more stable and committed workforce;
Moving towards a shorter working week as the ‘norm’ would help change attitudes about gender roles, promote more equal shares of paid and unpaid work, and help revalue jobs traditionally associated with women’s work;
Spending less time in paid work would enable us to spend more time with and care for each other – our parents, children, friends and neighbours – and to value and strengthen all the relationships that make our lives worthwhile and help to build a stronger society.