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World’s biggest four-day working week trial kicks off in UK

Employees will experience no loss of pay while only working for four days each week

Over 3,300 workers across 70 UK companies have started a four-day week trial, in what has been called the biggest ever pilot of its kind to take place anywhere in the world.

The trial will be based on the 100:80:100 principle, which states that 100% of an employee’s pay will be given in exchange for 80% of their typical work time, provided they commit to maintaining at least 100% productivity.

The pilot will run for six months and is being organised by 4 Day Week Global along with the future of work think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign, and researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College.

The companies taking part in the pilot come from a range of sectors and include small businesses and large corporations. They include sectors like banking, financial services, IT software training, automotive supply services, online retail, telcos, digital marketing, and food and beverage.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognising 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,” said Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global. “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.”

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Researchers are set to work with each participating organisation to measure the impact on productivity in the business and the wellbeing of its workers, as well as the impact on the environment and gender equality.

Government-backed four-day week trials are also aiming to begin later this year in Scotland and Spain.

“We'll be analysing 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,” said Juliet Schor, professor of Sociology at Boston College, and lead researcher on the pilot. “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.”

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