Four-day working weeks have long been rumoured, but often felt like a bit of a pipe dream.
Studies outlining the benefits – including increased productivity and improved staff morale – have been released, other countries have trialled the idea; hell, most of us even give it a shot every year on bank holiday weekends. That, however, does usually feel like the best we’re going to get.
But now, a pilot scheme has been launched, giving us some further fresh hope that a four-day week could happen 52 times in a calendar year.
A six-month trial is poised to include around 30 companies in Britain, with employees involved receiving the same pay they would for a five-day week, in exchange for full productivity over four days.
This pilot is led by 4 Day Week Global, in conjunction with think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, plus academics from both Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The scheme doesn’t stop in the UK either, with similar trials expected to be carried out in the US, Canada, Australia and more.
So far, six companies in the UK have joined up the pilot, with the final number expected to be between 20 and 30.
Joe O’Connor, pilot programme manager for 4 Day Week Global, said: “More and more businesses are moving to productivity focused strategies to enable them to reduce worker hours without reducing pay.
“We are excited by the growing momentum and interest in our pilot program and in the four-day week more broadly.
“The four-day week challenges the current model of work and helps companies move away from simply measuring how long people are “at work”, to a sharper focus on the output being produced. 2022 will be the year that heralds in this bold new future of work.”
Pilots are already being carried out in Spain and Ireland, so who knows? Maybe the studies combined could see a more widespread change to our working weeks.
The four-day working week pilot in the UK is due to commence in June 2022 for six months. Read more about 4 Day Week Global here.