• Wednesday, October 05, 2022

UK News

Nine in ten companies give thumbs-up to four-day week trial, will make it permanent

By: Pramod Thomas

Almost nine in ten companies participating in the four-day working week trial has said that they plan to make the arrangement permanent as productivity has improved, according to reports.

According to a mid-term survey, 88 per cent of respondents said it was working well, while 86 per cent said they were likely to consider maintaining the shorter working hours.

More than 70 organisations, ranging form local fish and chip shop to larger companies in various sectors have signed up for the trial, which started in June.

The six-month UK trial is part of pilots happening in the US, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

It is being run by 4 Day Week Global, a not-for-profit group, in partnership with Autonomy, the think tank, researchers at Boston College and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, as well as the 4 Day Week Campaign, a body lobbying for a 32-hour working week with no reduction in pay.

As many as 41 companies covering more than 3,300 workers responded to the survey. About 78 per cent of respondents said that the move to a shorter week is a good one. Forty-six per cent said that productivity had been maintained at the same level.Thirty-four per cent reported a ‘slight’ improvement in productivity and 15 per cent said that they noticed a significant improvement.

A case study as part of the trial has revealed that revenues rose 44 per cent in the early months of the trial at a business that had £450,000 sales last year.

“The four-day week pilot has been transformational for us so far. We’ve been delighted to see productivity and output increase and have also been able to make it work in our education and care services, which we thought would be far more challenging,” Sharon Platts, chief people officer for Outcomes First Group, a specialist care provider for young adults, told The Times.

According to Joe O’Connor, chief executive of 4 Day Week Global, UK organisations were laying the foundation for the future of work by putting a four-day week into practice.

“We are learning that for many it is a fairly smooth transition and for some, there are some understandable hurdles, especially among those that have comparatively fixed or inflexible practices, systems or cultures dating back well into the last century,” he was quoted as saying by media outlets.

A similar trial was done by a UK-based app-based lender Atom bank in August. It found out that the four-day working week improved productivity and job satisfaction.

Employees were given a choice to move from 37.5 hours spread over five days to 34 hours spread across four days without a salary cut.

About 92 per cent changed their way of working and 91 per cent of employees were able to finish their work in four days.

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