With work changed forever by the pandemic, firms say shorter week could help attract and retain staff
More than 3,000 workers at 60 companies across Britain will trial a four-day working week, in what is thought to be the biggest pilot scheme to take place anywhere in the world.
Employees from a wide range of businesses and charities are expected to take part in the scheme, which will run initially from June to December, including the Royal Society of Biology, the London-based brewing company Pressure Drop, a Manchester-based medical devices firm, and a fish and chip shop in Norfolk.
It comes as the push for companies to adopt a shorter working week – crucially with no loss of pay while aiming for higher productivity – gains momentum as a way of improving working conditions.
The pilot is being run by academics at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, as well as Boston College in the US, in partnership with the campaign group 4 Day Week Global, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign and the Autonomy thinktank.
Launching the trial to examine how such employment patterns might work at a broad range of companies across the economy, the participation of 3,000 workers means it is larger than a previous pilot in Iceland by Reykjavík city council and the national government that included more than 2,500 workers.