UK tests four-day work week

It would be possible to “volunteer, learn a new skill” or spend more time with family, says Louis Bloomsfield, one of the British employees who tested the four-day workweek in June.

Pressure Drops, the brewery where he works in London, will be involved in a massive trial with 3,000 employees from around 60 companies starting in June.

The project, billed as the world’s largest working day cut, aims to help companies reduce their working hours without cutting wages or income.

Similar trials have been conducted in Spain, Iceland, the United States and Canada, and are due to begin in Australia and New Zealand in August.

The six-month period in the UK will give companies more time to experiment and collect data, says Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, project director at 4 Day Week Global, a group that supports the trials.

Adaptation should be easier for SMEs, which can implement major changes more quickly, he told AFP.

For Pressure Drop, the goal is to increase employee productivity and well-being, while helping to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

A shorter workweek is expected to attract new employees and retain the best in the UK, where unemployment is at its lowest level in nearly 50 years, with a record number of vacancies: 1.3 million, well above the number of candidates.

not so pink

A shorter workweek in services is easier to implement, and the UK has an advantage in this regard, accounting for 80% of the sector’s GDP.

But for industries like retail, food and beverage, it’s more complicated, says Jonathan Boyes, an economist at the Personal Development Institute, a human resources association.

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He believes the biggest challenge will be measuring productivity, especially in services, where most of the work is qualitative and less easy to do than factory production.

But for Aidan Harper, co-author of the book promoting the four-day workweek (“The Case for a Four Day Week”), countries with fewer working hours tend to be more productive.

“Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands work less and have higher levels of productivity than the United Kingdom”, he explains. Greece, on the other hand, is one of the European countries with the longest working hours, but with lower productivity, according to him.

Phil McParlen of recruiting firm 4dayweek.io, specializing in flexible, four days a week, says the number of companies hiring through his platform has grown from 30 to 120 in the past two years, indicating increased flexibility. Work and search for a better quality of life two years after the pandemic.

About the author: Sarah Gracie

"Proud social media buff. Unapologetic web scholar. Internet guru. Lifelong music junkie. Travel specialist."

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