Thousands of workers from the U.K. are set to experience a four-day work week, with over 70 companies announcing they will spearhead the initiative, the biggest of its kind. The decision came after last month’s easing of Covid restrictions.
3,300 workers from across the country will take part in the initiative for six months. They won’t be getting any cut to their pay.
The major stakeholders involved in the program include 4 Day Week Global, 4 Day Week U.K. Campaign, and Autonomy. The academe has also decided to take part in the trials; the likes of Oxford University, Boston College, and Cambridge University all have pledged to probe the program.
According to Sienna O’Rourke, brand manager at the Pressure Drop Brewing, their company is joining the program because they want to improve the well-being and health of their employees by allowing them into the workforce with lesser days of work but with 100% of their salary still intact.
“The pandemic [has] made us think a great deal about work and how people organize their lives,” O’Rourke said in an interview. “We’re doing this to improve the lives of our staff and be part of a progressive change in the world.”
This working program is not new. From 2015 to 2019, 2,500 workers from Iceland’s public sector were involved with this program which, according to initiators, increased employee well-being while there was no decrease in productivity levels.
The demands for more flexible work arrangements have grown in recent years, following the lockdowns of 2020. Shortening the working week is an increasingly popular choice as companies look to save employees’ money on transportation costs.
CEO of the 4 Day Week Campaign announced that Spain and Scotland would start their government-backed trials later this year.
Joe O’Connor, the CEO of 4 Day Week Global, said that the model is better than the traditional Monday-to Friday working days since workers have proven themselves able to take on shorter hours with greater productivity.
According to O’Connor, “As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognizing that the new frontier for the competition is quality of life, and that reduced-hour, output-focused working is the vehicle to give them a competitive edge.”
The goal is to ensure that these trials are successful by ensuring workers’ well-being, promoting gender equality in the workplace and increasing their productivity.