By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 06 June 2022 • 8:39
Largest four-day work week trial starts in the UK today
Source: Pexels andrea-piacquadio-920382
The trial, which involves dozens of companies from across a broad spectrum, will see staff continuing to be remunerated on their existing packages, provided they can maintain 100 per cent productivity.
Researchers from leading universities will be working alongside the companies to monitor the impact of the four-day week on productivity and the well-being of staff. They will also monitor the effects of the shorter working week on gender equality and the environment.
The study follows the approval earlier this year in Belgium of a four-day working week.
Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology at Boston College, and lead researcher on the pilot told Sky News: “The four-day week is generally considered to be a triple dividend policy – helping employees, companies, and the climate.
“Our research efforts will be digging into all of this.”
Cambridge and Oxford Universities are also involved in the study along with the organisers the 4 Day Week Global. They will be assisted by think tank Autonomy and the 4 Day Week UK Campaign.
Joe O’Connor, Chief Executive of 4 Day Week Global, said that people had become accustomed to being away from the office during the pandemic and that: “Britain was at the crest of a wave of global momentum behind the four-day week.”
Initially floated by then leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn, the idea of a four-day work week has grown in popularity, however, there are fears that the already flagging customer service across the UK will deteriorate even further.
Those involved in the study believe, however, that a five-day working week is no longer fit for purpose and that a four-day working week will improve productivity and increase general happiness and well-being.
Many questions remain as the four-day work week trial starts, with those in industries that are already struggling to get staff and those who typically work a six-day week failing to understand how this will benefit them.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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