70 companies across the UK take part in trial scheme to test out four-day working week

The trial has been organised by 4 Day Week Global, established by Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart, and its aim is to provide a platform for like-minded people who are interested in supporting the idea of the 4-day work week as a part of the future of work.

Following the trial, researchers will analyse how employees respond to an extra day off, and if it improves mental health, productivity, and overall happiness.

Speaking to the Guardian, Juliet Schor, a professor of sociology at Boston College and lead researcher on the pilot, described it as an “historic trial”.

“The four-day week is generally considered to be a triple-dividend policy – helping employees, companies and the climate,” Schor said. “Our research efforts will be digging into all of this.”

Joe O’Connor, CEO of the not-for-profit group 4 Day Week Global, said the UK was at the crest of the four-day week wave: “As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognising that the new frontier for competition is quality of life, and that reduced-hour, output-focused working is the vehicle to give them a competitive edge.”

Studies suggest that a four-day working week improves employee mental health, with 78% reporting feeling happier and less stressed.

This option may also be particularly attractive to recruiters as 63% of businesses claim it is easier attract and retain talent with a four-day work week.

The trial is due to finish at the end of this year, with the researcher’s findings published early 2023. We will certainly be very interested to read the outcome.