UK puts the four-day working week to the test

London (CNN Business) – Thousands of British workers began working four days a week from Monday, without a wage cut, in the biggest test of its kind.

The six-month pilot program involves 3,300 workers from 70 companies, from financial service providers to a fish and chip restaurant.

During the program, workers receive 100% of their pay for working just 80% of their typical week, in exchange for a commitment to maintain 100% of their productivity.

The program is run by the non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global, the Autonomy think tank and the 4 Day Week UK campaign, in collaboration with researchers from the universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Boston College.

Sienna O’Rourke, brand manager for Pressure Drop Brewing, an independent brewery in London, told CNN Business that the company’s biggest goal is to improve the mental health and well-being of its employees.

“The pandemic has made us think a lot about work and the way people organize their lives,” he said. “We are doing this to improve the lives of our employees and to be part of a gradual change in the world.”

Since the company manufactures and ships the products, O’Rourke said, workers have less flexibility as to when and where they work. But any difficulties in managing leave and sick leave will be handled as a team.

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So far, Iceland conducted its largest pilot test of a shorter work week between 2015 and 2019, with 2,500 public sector workers participating in two large trials. Those trials found no comparable decrease in productivity among the participants, and a significant increase in employee well-being.

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In recent years, calls for shorter working weeks have gained traction in many countries. With millions of employees switching to remote work during the pandemic, Reduce travel time and costsThe calls for more flexibility only increased.

The government-supported 4 Days a Week campaign will take place in Spain and Scotland later this year.

Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, said workers have shown their ability to work “shorter and smarter.”

“As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are realizing that the new competitive frontier is quality of life, and that a business focused on low-hour performance is the vehicle that will give them a competitive advantage,” he said in a statement.

The researchers will measure the impact of the new business model on productivity levels, gender equality, the environment and worker welfare.

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