More than 3,300 workers at 70 UK companies will begin a four-day work week trial from Monday (6 June), in the biggest trial of its kind to date.
The programme is being coordinated by 4 Day Week Global in partnership with the UK think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign and researchers at Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University.
The pilot will run for a period of six months with no loss in pay for employees over the period. It runs alongside similar pilot schemes taking place in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The Guardian reports that the trial is based on the 100:80:100 model – 100% of pay for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment to maintaining 100% productivity. Researchers will 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 due to begin later this year in Spain and Scotland.
Shift in working
Top business leaders have indicated that they are broadly in favour of a four-day work week, providing it does not impact productivity.
The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos at the end of Amy focused heavily on the issue, with much of the concern focusing on how working from home – or for only four days a week – could impact productivity and workplace dynamics. Employers want their teams back together in the office and employees want the same, but not all of the time.
However, the previous ‘weekday, nine-to-five, in the office’ paradigm appears to be a relic of the past. Many workers now prefer a hybrid arrangement that gives them the flexibility to work remotely for at least part of the week.
Data published by Microsoft in May shows a clear shift in worker preferences in South Africa, with fewer people willing to come into the office every day.
While most employees in South Africa favour the idea of a hybrid working model, the data shows people are generally unsure of when to come into the office and why. Many employees also feel the commute is unnecessary and would rather spend valuable time with family.
“It means leaders are faced with a key challenge – making the office worth the commute. The data reveals, however, that few companies globally have created new team norms, such as hybrid work meeting etiquette, to ensure time together is intentional.
“The biggest opportunity for business leaders is to reimagine the role of the office and create clarity around why, when, and how often teams should gather in person,” Microsoft said.