One new work setup idea floating around today is reducing the number of workdays from 5 to 4. Aside from helping workers amidst increasing prices of necessities, this proposal also aims to increase employee retention and productivity, especially during this ongoing talent war. Despite its advantages, it also has disadvantages that keep it from being implemented in the Philippines.
However, that isn’t the case in Britain. Starting last Monday, June 6, the 4-day workweek pilot in Britain begins. This 4-day workweek in UK companies will last for 6 months, and aims to check the viability of this setup. And includes 3,300 workers working from 70 different companies, making it the largest 4-day workweek trial yet.
Who’s Behind This Trial and What Are Its Goals?
This pilot 4-day workweek in UK companies is the brainchild of the non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global, London-based think tank Autonomy, the UK’s 4 Day Week Campaign, and researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College. 70 Companies agreed to take part in this pilot. These range from restaurants to financial service providers.
In a statement, Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognizing 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,”
Companies participating in this study are given 2 options as to how they will adjust their work hours:
- “Gold” participants agreed to adopt a permanent 32-hour or less 4-day workweek. There’s also an option to spread these 32 hours in 5 days instead.
- “Silver” participants agreed to adopt a permanent 35-hour or less 4-day workweek.
The 4-day workweek pilot in Britain aims to analyze how having an extra day off will affect employees. The areas that will be studied include stress and burnout, job and life satisfaction, health, sleep, travel, and energy use.
How Will This Affect Employees?
Aside from the obvious benefit of working for only 4 days, employees participating will receive no reduction in their salaries for the pilot’s duration. This means that for the next 6 months, employees will receive their full pay and have an extra day to spend with their family or simply rest.
Having this setup is something that many employees have been asking for years now. But it really gained momentum thanks to the growing popularity of working through online jobs.
Many employees have discovered that they prefer working remotely and have begun resigning from that don’t offer a remote work option. By giving improved benefits, companies hope to retain them amidst the ongoing “great resignation” and talent war.
However, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine for employees participating in the 4-day workweek pilot. Employees still need to give the same level of productivity here as they would in a 5-day work.
This could lead to more pressure from managers based on performance measurements, productivity, and monitoring. This leads to more work for employees instead of less, as managers want to accomplish as much work in a shorter time.
Other 4-day Workweek Pilots Around the World.
The 4-day workweek pilot in Britain wasn’t the first time this sort of event happened. Before this, Iceland was the country that held the most sizable trial for a shorter workweek between 2015 and 2019.
They conducted 2 sizable tests of a shorter workweek setup involving 2,500 workers in the public sector. They found no drop in productivity and an increase in employee well-being.
Other countries conducting their own pilots alongside Britain include the US, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. According to the 4 Day Week Campaign, there will also be government-backed trials in Scotland and Spain later this year.
4 Days of Work? It’s More Likely Than You Think.
The way people do work has forever altered because of the pandemic. Work setups once thought impossible are now being considered as employees continue to look for companies with better work arrangements. The recent pilot 4-day workweek in UK companies is an example of such.
This new setup has been something that employees have been asking for a long time. Having this setup means they can cut back on work expenses. While also giving them more time for rest and bonding with loved ones. However, this setup also presents new challenges. One such example is the increase in workload due to the shorter workweek.
Besides the UK, other countries have started their own 4-day workweek trials, or in the case of Iceland, have begun earlier. If things go well for this pilot, we may very well see 4-day workweeks becoming commonplace soon.