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The pilot scheme is due to remain in place for six months and is being run by academics at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, as well as Boston College in the US, in partnership with the campaign groups 4 Day Week Global, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign and the Autonomy thinktank.

The trial is based on the 100:80:100 model where employees receive 100% of pay for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment to maintain 100% productivity.

The trial has come about as a response to the lasting effects of the pandemic, with an increasing number of companies embracing flexible working and recognising that a good work/life balance has become a greater focus for employees when considering their working patterns. As many employers seeking to recruit in the current climate will have noted, there has been a clear shift towards a more flexible way of working, and employees are more forthright in requesting compressed hours and home working, perhaps most notably for those with childcare responsibilities.

Throughout the pilot, the participating companies will work with researchers to measure the impact on productivity in the business, the wellbeing of its workers in terms of stress, burnout, health and general life satisfaction, gender equality, and the impact on the environment due to the reduction in travel between home and the workplace.

One of the participants in the pilot scheme, Platten’s Fish and Chips in Norfolk, noted that morale had already improved within the team since the business joined the trial, before it even came into effect.

Another, Charity Bank, said it was proud to be one of the first banks in the UK to embrace the four-day week. Ed Siegel, chief executive said:

“We have long been a champion of flexible working, but the pandemic really moved the goalposts in this regard. For Charity Bank, the move to a four-day week seems a natural next step.

“The 20th-century concept of a five-day working week is no longer the best fit for 21st-century business. We firmly believe that a four-day week with no change to salary or benefits will create a happier workforce and will have an equally positive impact on business productivity, customer experience and our social mission.”

Once the pilot has come to an end we hope to provide more information regarding the practicalities of implementing a four-day week based on the lessons learned.

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