The world’s biggest pilot scheme into adopting a four-day working week will start next Monday in the UK.
Seventy companies are reported by the BBC to be taking part ranging from a local Fish and Chip shop to recruitment firms. There are around 3000 Uk workers involved but there are also initiatives taking place in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and Ireland.
Juliet Schor is the lead researcher on the Global 4-day week project, which is running the initiative ; and also an economist and sociologist at Boston College. She told BBC News: "The UK trial is historic. The basis of this movement is that there's activity going on in many workplaces, particularly white collar workplaces, that's low-productivity and that you can cut without harming the business." She added: “Sticking to a rigid, centuries-old, time-based system doesn't make sense. You can be 100 percent productive in 80 percent of the time in many workplaces, and companies adopting this around the world have shown that.”
She believes that, while the model may not work for all companies, if even a small percentage change, there will be an impact on sickness rates, employee happiness and attrition of staff.
The experiment is being tracked by academics from Boston College, Oxford and Cambridge universities as well as think tank Autonomy.