Four day working week pilot scheme launched by 30 companies

17 January 2022, 15:51 | Updated: 17 January 2022, 16:25

UK to launch four day working week pilot scheme
UK to launch four day working week pilot scheme. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

As many as 30 companies are set to take part in a new pilot scheme which will see employees work just four days in a week.

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The new approach to working will ask staff to maintain 100 per cent productivity, but only 80 per cent of the time, for the same pay as a five day working week.

Led by 4 Day Week Global, in partnership with the think tank Autonomy, the new pilot will see roughly 30 companies taking part.

Huge tech firm Canon is one of those lined up to take part, pledging to also offer employees a series of workshops, mentoring, and networking opportunities to maximise the pilot’s success.

Other UK firms taking part are reported to include software firms and a medical not-for-profit, ranging in size from 20 staff to 140 plus.

The scheme is set to launch in the UK, US, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand with researchers at Oxford University, Boston College, and Cambridge University monitoring results.

Results will be collected from each company to analyse the impact on productivity, the wellbeing of workers, and the impact on the environment and gender equality.

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'A four-day working week is a dangerous path to go down'

Joe O’Connor, pilot programme manager for 4 Day Week Global, said: "More and more businesses are moving to productivity focused strategies to enable them to reduce worker hours without reducing pay.

"We are excited by the growing momentum and interest in our pilot program and in the four-day week more broadly.

"The four-day week challenges the current model of work and helps companies move away from simply measuring how long people are 'at work', to a sharper focus on the output being produced. 2022 will be the year that heralds in this bold new future of work."

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Ash Sarkar explains the benefits of a four day working week

Governments in Spain and Scotland have already launched trials of the four-day week.

Nicola Sturgeon's SNP also launching a £10 million fund to help companies that want to trial a shorter working week.

Similar trials conducted in Iceland saw productivity and wellbeing improve for 2,500 workers who took part.

As a result, Icelandic trade union federations have since started to negotiate reduced hours for the whole country.