A 4-Day Workweek Trial in the UK Underway

Key Takeaways:

  • The UK is amidst a 4-day workweek trial to learn about employee productivity and corporate profits.
  • Because of the pandemic, companies needed to be forward-thinking.
  • Microsoft Japan attempted a similar work trial in 2019 with impressive results.
A 4-Day Workweek Trial in the UK Underway
A 4-Day Workweek Trial in the UK Underway

WISCONSIN (CoinChapter.com) — The UK launched a 4-Day Workweek Global pilot program nearly six months ago.

The premise was to learn if a shorter work week could be just as productive as a five-day week. To make this successful, workers would have to play a big role in productivity and not simply look at it as a week with regular three-day weekends.

On June 6, to be exact, 3,300 workers at 70 British companies agreed to take part in the trial; the key motivator was that for workers, there would be no loss of pay for fewer hours.

In addition, researchers from Cambridge and Oxford Universities, along with US university Boston College, would analyze how employees, in a sense, behave by having an extra day off. The university researchers and the London-based research organization, Autonomy took part in the study.

Pandemic Prompted The Idea

Amid Covid-19 lockdowns, which peaked in the spring of 2020, companies began to recognize the need to be forward-thinking. For example, companies began to allow employees to work from home, expecting production to be at the highest level possible.

4-Day Workweek, A 4-Day Workweek Trial in the UK Underway
Forward-thinking companies found many benefits in allowing employees flexibility. Credit: Wildbit

Many firms took the plunge and embraced allowing employees to re-organize their work week, reduce stress, remain healthy, and sleep well, knowing that a paycheck was still on the way.

Point Blank, Did The Trial Work Or Not?

Participants in the study were given two options. The “Gold” workers chose a 4-day, 32-hour week (with an option for five days/fewer hours each day), and “Silver” participants chose a 4-day, 35-hour week. Again, all work was with no loss of pay.

Point blank – with one month remaining in the trial, it is working, and here’s why…

The only way for this project is if workers have an attitude and desire to work at a high level. That’s the “meat and potatoes for success. Managers and workers reported that production is going well. There are reports of improved health and less burnout.

Employees were also found to work better as a team. Due to a 4-day work week with added demands, employees got away from a mentality that said, “That’s not my job.” If one wanted to be done on Thursday afternoon, the only way to do that was to work with team effort.

Economics of a 4-day Workweek

Businesses that adopted a 4-day work week found not only improvements in employees’ positive attitudes but also were making more money. One of the primary reasons is fewer sick calls. With fewer days to work, there are fewer days to call in sick, which keeps employees working instead of leaving tasks undone.

Microsoft Japan attempted a similar work trial in 2019; they, too, had successful results. The company allowed 2300 employees to take Fridays off with pay and, as a result, said there was an “impressive company 40% increase in the productivity of employees in the month (measured against August 2018).”

The UK’s 4-day Week Global trial ends next month. It has been a raving success.

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