Over 3,000 employees at 60 UK companies will trial a four-day working week, in what is considered to be the largest pilot scheme of its kind.
The scheme will run from June to December and will involve employees from a diverse range of businesses and charitable organisations, including the Royal Society of Biology, a Manchester-based medical devices firm, and a fish and chip shop in Norfolk.
It comes as part of a push for companies to adopt a shorter working week as a means of improving working conditions and boosting productivity. The trial is being run by academics at Cambridge and Oxford universities, as well as Boston College in the US, and in partnership with 4 Day Week Global, 4 Day Week UK Campaign, and the Autonomy thinktank.
“Increasingly, managers and executives are embracing a new model of work which focuses on quality of outputs, not quantity of hours,” said Joe O’Connor, the chief executive of 4 Day Week Global. “Workers have emerged from the pandemic with different expectations around what constitutes a healthy life-work balance.”
The trial has been prompted by the coronavirus pandemic leading many people and companies to re-examine their working patterns, with remote, hybrid and flexible working becoming increasingly popular and important to employees.