Key Takeaways
  • A trial in the U.K. is taking place to determine whether a shorter workweek will help improve employees’ efficiency levels.
  • The experiment will last six months, with 70 companies and 3,000 employees across various industries examined to determine whether a four-day workweek raises productivity.
  • The study plays a significant role in how work schedules will be in the future. If the trial does well, it could lead to more companies experimenting with shorter workweeks and vice versa.
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The key to success in any line of work is consistent productivity. A company’s goal must be to ensure the efficiency of their employees does not decline drastically to the point where they are negatively impacted. Consequently, in an attempt to raise productivity, a trial in the United Kingdom (U.K.) is taking place where companies are experimenting with having a four-day workweek for six months to see if there are any changes to their employees’ output.
 

Brief Background on 4-Day Workweek Trial in the U.K.

 

The pilot program will consist of 70 companies and more than 3,000 employees partaking in a shorter working week trial for six months while maintaining 100% pay. To ensure the study's outcome is not biased towards a specific sector, the companies chosen to participate are from numerous different industries. 

 

This workplace experiment is being conducted in collaboration with the following institutions: 4 Day Week Global, think tank Autonomy, 4 Day Week U.K. Campaign, and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College.

 

When the Chief Executive of 4 Day Week Global, Joe O’Connor, was discussing the 4-day working week experiment; he said, “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.” 

 

This quote means that many workers began quitting during the “Great Resignation,” and it damaged many companies’ operations as their workforce reduced. Thus, the purpose of the four-day working week is to determine the impact an extra day off will have on a worker’s quality of life and work-life balance, and see if it could be a competitive factor that reduces the chance of them leaving.
 

Why Companies are Partaking in the U.K. 4-Day Workweek Trial? 

 

A company’s main objective is to work as efficiently as possible to maximize output and earnings. However, at one point or another, employees will burnout, and have a dip in their productivity levels, affecting the company’s overall profitability. As a result, companies are determined to see whether a shorter week would help improve the employees’ performance. 

 

If this study shows signs of promise, there is the possibility more companies will be inclined to implement a shorter workweek to see if their employees’ performance improves. As a result, the future of how many hours an employee works in a week is somewhat dependent on the performance of the workers in this study.
 

Future of a 4-day Workweek
 

It is too early to accurately determine whether implementing a four-day working week will be mutually beneficial to both companies and their employees. However, this is not the first time a company has begun considering implementing a four-day work week. Recently, at the beginning of January 2022, a tech startup in the United States called Bolt officially switched over from a five-day to a four-day workweek. 
 

Bolt’s CEO Ryan Breslow mentioned this change has proven to be a good move, as employees are happy working a shorter workweek while getting paid the same amount of money. However, although the outcome of this situation displays the fact shorter workweeks boost efficiency, keep in mind that the same integrations made by larger businesses may not have similar results. 
 

Thus, although previous studies have shown that a shorter workweek is better for individual companies, the trial being done across various industries in the U.K. will play a major role for more companies considering the transition to a four-day workweek. If the study shows positive feedback across different sectors, many companies may be inclined to test out the shorter workweek and vice versa. 

 

Main Image Credit: M-SUR / Shutterstock.com

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