World’s biggest four-day work week trial begins in the UK

Office workers and commuters walk through Canary Wharf in London during the morning rush (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Archive)
Office workers and commuters walk through Canary Wharf in London during the morning rush (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Archive)

Workers across the UK are set to join the world’s largest trial of a four-day work week on Monday, with no less pay.

More than 3,300 employees at 70 British companies will begin the six-month trial period of the new working style to test if productivity levels can be maintained in the reduced hours.

The trial is based on a 100:80:100 model, which means staff work for “100 per cent of the pay, 80 per cent of the time, but critically in exchange for 100% of the productivity”, according to organisers 4 Day Week Global.

The organisers are in partnership with the thinktank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College.

Joe O’Connor, chief executive of 4 Day Week Global, said: "The UK is at the crest of a wave of global momentum behind the four-day week.

"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.

"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."

Among the participants are the West End-based inheritance tax specialists Stellar Asset Management, North London brewery Pressure Drop and Charity Bank in Kent.

Pressure Drop Co-Founder/Director Sam Smith said that his team is looking forward to the challenges of the experiment, while looking for solutions “from within” his small business.

He said: “We think we are a good fit for the 4-Day Week trial.

“We hope that our progress as a brewery will be a source of keen interest for the experts and researchers supporting the trial, as well as to others in the beer industry.”

Currently, there are 17 London-based officially accredited companies that have adopted the four-day work week with no less pay.

The team of researchers will assess the levels of productivity maintained during the reduced hours, as well as other factors

Lead researcher and professor of sociology at Boston College Juliet Schor said: "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.

"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."