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Four Day Working Week Trial Launches in the UK

four day work week

A four-day workweek pilot has been launched in the UK, with similar schemes taking place in other countries like Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and The United States.

The 6-month trial in the UK will reduce hours with no loss in pay for employees and the pilot called, “4 Day Week Global” is backed up by research organisation “Autonomy” as well as researchers at Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University.

The program states the standard 9-5, 5-day working week is outdated and no longer fit for purpose and that the long-overdue four-day working week would benefit workers, employers, the economy, our society and the environment.

Workers benefit by utilising their free time for a better work-life balance, more rest and sleep, extra time for leisure and life admin such as shopping, cleaning, managing finances and parenting duties.

Employers also benefit, with trials showing productivity increases with workers with money being saved as their employees were happier and less stressed meaning they took fewer sick days.

The four-day working week is based on the 100:80:100 model, which translates to 100 per cent of pay for 80 per cent of time, with 100 per cent productivity.

Numerous companies have already taken part in the scheme with the 4 Day Week Campaign and have become accredited employers with the program. Accredited with  Gold, Silver, and Bronze standards, the Gold Standard drops the employees work hours to a permanent 32 hours (or less) four-day work with no loss of pay. The Silver Standard gives the employee a permanent 35 hours (or less) four-day week with no loss of pay and the Bronze Standard offers their employees and 6 month minimum of the above hours with no loss of pay. 

With the global pandemic already shaking up working arrangements, the idea of a four-day working week is becoming more of a reality. 

One Melbourne based company made headlines when they introduced the concept in 2019. The Australian digital marketing agency named VERSA decided to shut down on Wednesdays and offered staff a four-day working week with no loss of pay. From their website, they state that the innovative style of working has led to better work culture and CEO, Kath Blackham says that her choice to divide the week in half rather than a long weekend was purposeful. She says, “by the time we get to Thursday, it’s like Monday again”, creating a feeling of “enthusiasm and.. collaboration”.

In Australia, an "Inquiry into the future of the working week” has been launched by the ACT Government. With submissions closing on the 13th of May 2022, the inquiry will discuss the concept of a four-day workweek, the advantages and disadvantages and how it would be implemented.
 

Image Credit: (Dmitry Demidovich / Shutterstock.com)