Over thirty companies in the UK will join a four-day workweek pilot starting in June 2022. It’s part of a broader initiative to find ways to make the working day more efficient and productive. The question is, can this work in every business?
There are many reasons why a shorter working week could be beneficial. In addition to increasing productivity and employee well-being, it also reduces the gender gap and unemployment. However, some barriers need to be overcome before this can become a reality. And as an HR, you should consider the pros and cons of implementing a four-day workweek into your company.
In this post, we explore how the pilot works, and why companies from all over the world are following this trend.
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How Would a Four-day Week Work in the UK?
More than thirty firms have signed up and will begin their participation in the trial this June. It will last six months and run in parallel in other countries including Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.
During this period, employees will receive training, mentoring, and networking opportunities with the leaders of this movement. The goal is to measure productivity and determine if the four-hour week is a viable solution.
This new approach means a reduction from 40 hours a week to 32 hours a week. And campaigners ensure you can increase productivity and work fewer hours at the same time.
Participating companies receive advice and support from the campaigners. By joining the 4 Day Week Pilot, your company have the opportunity to build a new and more flexible work culture, and even cut costs in the process.
Does It Mean Less Pay?
In the past, we measured productivity based on how many hours workers spent in the office. However, that is not necessarily linked with good outcomes. And although it might sound unnatural, you can actually achieve the same results even reducing work time hours. Therefore, spending fewer hours at work without lower salaries is not that crazy after all. The four-day workweek aims to ensure everyone will be benefited from the system. Both companies and employees. And it does not require salary reduction to keep the productivity levels high.
The Role of HR
In the United Kingdom, 64% of employers that adopted the four-day workweek reported productivity increases, and over half reported reductions in costs. In addition, 63% of employers find it easier to attract and retain talent. The pilot will bring an opportunity to measure if is it possible to employ workers for 20% fewer hours with no loss in productivity. Therefore, HR departments working with participating companies will be in charge of supervising and supporting employees.
Participants in the pilot program will benefit from training, networking opportunities, and mentorship by international companies that have successfully implemented a four-day workweek. Besides, the Four Day workweek campaign helps teams find the best strategy to implement this system. And if you’re working for one of the over 30 businesses adopting this structure, it’s essential to pay attention to your employees’ feedback. Understanding the challenges involved in changing team culture is key to building a sustainable workplace. Factorial enables you to create custom employee reviews to manage performance and help you lead your team.
Beyond productivity, researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College will measure employee well-being. Although companies and organizations should consider this trial a promising approach, detractors are worried about possible stress and burnout of employees.
Which Companies Are Participating in the Trial?
Now, over 30 UK companies are beginning to consider cutting the workweek. Indeed, almost every industry has a company that adopted this trend.
List of companies that will participate in the trial:
- 3D Issue
- Advice Direct Scotland
- Atom Bank
- Big Potato Games
- CMG Technologies
- Causeway Irish Housing Association
- Charlton Morris
- Common Knowledge
- Earth Science Partnership
- Elektra Lighting
- Four Day Week Ltd
- Geeks for Social Change
- Legacy Events
- People and Transformational HR
- Punch Creative
- Resilience Brokers
- Reward Agency
- Stop AIDS
- Sinister Fish Games
- Social Enterprise Direct
- Softer Success
- T-Cup Studios
- Target Publishing
- The Circle
- The UPAC Group
- Venture Stream
- YMCA Scotland
Which Countries Have a Four-day Working Week?
Reducing hours to level up company culture isn’t a new trend. Indeed, companies from all over the world have decreased work hours.
Here are some of the countries that successfully adopted this approach:
Big companies including Panasonic and Microsoft Japan cut work hours and joined the movement.
CEO of Panasonic stated “We must support the wellbeing of each employee”, and Microsoft Japan reported a reduction in electricity costs.
Besides, to make the public sector more productive, the government is working to provide companies with the resources they need to institute a four-day workweek.
The majority of workers in Iceland are currently working -or on their way to work four days a week. And reports say it boosted productivity and employee happiness.
Cutting hours is a hot trend in tech companies. Indeed, big online businesses leap into innovation and promise to never come back to the traditional five-day workweek. Bolt was the first tech unicorn to experiment with the four-day week work and proved how this increases productivity, engagement, and wellness.
After elections, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a fund for firms to trial the four-day week.
And companies who are implementing it reported increases in profitability and efficiency. LUX, a creative agency, informed growths of 30% in output and profitability.
But some organisations follow these practices to close the gender gap and support minorities to fulfil their potential. Such is the case of YWCA Scotland, which believes cutting hours has several social benefits for working women.
Along with adopting technology to simplify communication, reducing hours at work would help employees balance family time and remain healthy. Changing the workflow is challenging. But the pandemic showed us the importance of remaining flexible to lead an effective team.
And as the four-day workweek is being implemented around the world, you can jump in the movement and take your company culture to the next level.