Working four days of the week is a desirable prospect for many of us – and for some lucky Brits, it is the stuff of reality. They are part of the world’s biggest pilot study of UK companies trialling the four-day week for six months. The premise is simple – all employees earn the same salary as they did when working five days every week.
Dubbed the 100:80:100 model, employees earn 100 per cent pay for working 80 per cent of the time, in exchange for 100 per cent productivity. More than 3,000 people working for 70 business are taking part – including a north London brewery, Norfolk chippy and Dundee animation studio.
The initiative is by 4 Day Week Global, a non-profit running similar trials abroad, who is running the UK pilot with Autonomy, a UK-based think-tank, and researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College.
When it was launched in June Joe O’Connor, 4 Day Week Global’s CE., said “The impact of the ‘great resignation’ is now proving that workers from a range of industries can produce better outcomes while working shorter and smarter.”
Now the question is whether it is paying off – with some bosses super keen, while others suspect the policy may not last for them.
Samantha Losey, who runs communications company Unity, told the Telegraph : “It’s more likely that we won’t carry on now.
“One of the things that has struck me is whether or not we are a mature enough business to be able to handle the fourday week.
“The rest of the world not doing fourday weeks makes it challenging. We agreed we’d go all the way through the pilot, but I’m questioning whether this is the right thing for us long term. It’s been bumpy for sure.”
Ms Losey said there have been confusion on handover days due to staff taking different days off.
Christine MacKay, the chief executive of animation studio Salamandra, said her company hadn’t started their trial yet due to a number of ongoing products.
“I’ve had mixed responses [from staff] – some are very excited and some are not so keen as everyone works at different speeds,” she said. “It’s a stressful prospect if you naturally work at a slower speed. The minute the company or customers are in jeopardy it will stop.”
Meanwhile Jill Tichborne, a training and quality assurance manager at charity Helping Hands, said the project had been positive for her.
She wrote in the Guardian: “On a personal level, the pilot has been brilliant. All the household chores I used to do at the weekend can now be done on my day off, leaving me more time to spend with my family.
“As a single mum I have always had to juggle work, school and being a chauffeur for my children, but this new system means that I can be there for my children and enjoy our time together.
“Furthermore, my performance at work has not been affected at all. I find that I am much more focused on the days I am working.”
Joe O’Connor, who runs the 4 Day Week campaign, said feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive from companies taking part”.
“In a trial with 73 companies which is after all an experiment, it would be expected that this might not work out as planned for all companies and result in a 100pc success rate,” he said.