The employees of 60 British companies are eagerly awaiting the start of an extraordinary field test. From June 1st they will test the four-day week – without cutting back on salaries.
The 4 Day Week Global pilot, described as the largest in the world to date, is scheduled to run for six months and is designed to help companies transition to the 4-day week without sacrificing revenue.
Louis Bloomsfield, who works at a brewery in north London, is already looking forward to the extra day off each week. He is happy to accept an increase in the cadence in the remaining working hours.
So many possibilities to take advantage of with an extra day
"My first thought was charity work, but then I thought I could do something else, learn something new. There are so many things to do with an extra day."
The management of the "Pressure Drop Brewery" wants to split the workforce into two teams and offer different days off a week to keep the brewery running continuously.
It is hoped that the experiment will not only increase productivity but also improve employee well-being, says co-founder Sam Smith.
"We want to be part of a progressive change in society. We want to help protect the environment, improve mental well-being, promote child rearing and achieve all sorts of other benefits to society that we believe will result, when the way people work changes."
Learned from home office experiences
More autonomy and flexible working patterns – the home office experiences of the past two pandemic years have shown that this is possible.
The subliminal desire of many companies is also to bind employees to the company and to counteract the serious shortage of staff. In the UK, the number of job vacancies has risen to a record 1.3 million.
The service sector plays a large role in the UK economy, contributing 80 percent of the country's GDP. A shorter workweek is easier to enforce in this area, said Jonathan Boys, labor economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Productivity sticking point
However, the transition is more problematic for retail, the food and beverage industry, healthcare and education. "The real question is: will skipping a day increase productivity – will that increase the performance you lost that day?
I think that's probably the most important part of this study. If so, great. If not, then we're going to have a really hard time sustaining a four-day workweek without hampering the growth of the economy. That's probably the whole point."
Similar pilot projects already exist in Spain, Iceland, the USA and Canada. In Australia and New Zealand dare the field test in August. Belgium also wants to introduce the four-day week.
In Germany it is currently not on the agenda, although according to surveys a clear majority of the population would be in favor of it.