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Four-day working week trials are taking over

January 28, 2022

The United Kingdom has become the latest country to flirt with a 4-day week. It is been announced that, from June this year, a trial will be set as part of a six-month experiment. Each company will pay its staff their usual salary and, in return, staff must maintain 100% productivity in 80% of their working time. Their productivity will be monitored by researchers at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. 

Several companies have explored the shift, including Microsoft Japan, which ran a one-month trial in 2019, reporting a significant increase in productivity, as well as a reduction in electricity costs and on the printing of paper pages. Unilever is also currently undertaking a 12-month trial among all of the business’s 81 staff in New Zealand.

A Henley Business School study in 2019 found that 250 firms participating in a four-day week saved an estimated £92 billion a year because their employees were happier, less stressed, and took fewer sick days. Other research project involving over 500 business leaders and 2,000 employees found the following main benefits:

  • Improving the ability to attract and retain talent
  • Increasing overall employee satisfaction
  • Reporting lower employee sickness levels
  • Increasing productivity

Research has also shown that a four-day week could reduce the UK’s carbon footprint by 127 million tonnes per year, equivalent to taking 27 million cars off the road (effectively the entire UK private car fleet).

Nearly 30 companies have already signed up for the UK pilot. Similar schemes are taking place in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Besides, Spain and Scotland are about to launch their own trials.


Source: 4dayweek | Henley Business School