Four day week trial launched in UK

four day weekA six-month trial of the recently much talked about four day week has been launched across the United Kingdom. Around thirty companies are expected to take part, who have also committed to retaining current pay and conditions for the employees involved. The pilot has been launched by the think tank Autonomy, 4 Day Week Global, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College.

Six UK companies have signed up to the trial so far including Edinburgh based tech firm Canon. The organisers are inviting companies who are interested in taking part in the pilot to sign up here.

The UK pilot will run alongside other trials across the US, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Governments in Spain, and also Scotland, have already launched trials of the four-day week after Nicola Sturgeon promised ‘a better work-life balance’ in her election manifesto. Recent news suggests there is growing demand for the idea amongst workers.

Participating organisations will be offered a package of support including workshops, mentoring, networking and access to research. Researchers will work with each organisation to measure the impact on productivity, the wellbeing of workers, and the impact on the environment and gender equality. Part of the commitment from organisations and participating workers is to maintain levels of output during the trial.

Brendan Burchell, professor in social sciences at Cambridge University, said: “With the social and environmental benefits of the shorter working week becoming clearer, grassroots support more widespread, and technology available to maintain productivity, the time has come for more organisations to take the leap and unravel the practicalities. This scheme has tremendous potential to progress from conversations about the general advantages of a shorter working week to focussed discussions on how organisations can implement it in the best possible way.”