If it seems like the idea of a four-day working week is a pretty on-trend right now, well, that’s because it almost certainly is. Spearheaded by the Four-Day Week Campaign, the idea has picked up pace among more workers and companies than ever before since the start of the year.
Back in January, the scheme announced it was looking to get as many companies involved as it could in a six-month pilot. Working with Oxford and Cambridge unis, the pilot will study levels of worker wellbeing and productivity as people are paid the same salary to work one less day every week.
The deadline for companies to sign up to the trial was last Thursday, and the total number of people taking part in the scheme is in. More than 3,000 workers at 60 companies across the UK will be trialling a four-day week for six months later this year. Which is, whichever way you put, a pretty impressive number of people.
Those lucky 3,000 will start the trial in June, and they’re from a huge variety of industries. The likes of brewers Pressure Drop, a Norfolk fish and chip shop, the Royal Society of Biology and the British arm of camera company Canon are just a few of the institutions involved.
Past studies of the idea of four-day working week (you can read up on the history here) have found that it can have several benefits for both companies and employers. Firms can see increased productivity and profits, while workers can enjoy better wellbeing and work-life balance. There can even be benefits for the environment (due to less commuting) and gender equality.
In any case, this UK trial may well be the largest four-day week trial ever. So let’s hope the results pave the way for the rest of us, eh?
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