The idea of a shorter, four day working week is being given trials across the UK, in an attempt to find out if it will increase productivity.
The scheme is is being run by the Four Day Week Campaign, a think tank known as Autonomy and a collaboration of researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College.
Currently, 30 companies in the UK are undertaking the trial, including Canon and Target Publishing.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns that followed, burnout has been on the rise. More and more people are feeling exhausted with their work, resulting in depleted morale across workplaces and ultimately, a drop in overall productivity.
During a time where the country needs to get back on its feet after a particularly troubling couple of years, a country-wide case of burnout could have potentially devastating effects on the economy and the overall happiness its citizens.
While the working week will be shorter under this new experiment, you will still be required to work the full amount of hours on your contract. For example, if you work five eight hour days a week, under this trial system, you would work four ten hour days a week instead. Of course, the amount of money that you receive will remain the same.
Last year, the same system was trialled in Iceland and it was deemed to be an “overwhelming success”. The researchers conducting the trials will take note of any fluctuation in productivity given off by the complying companies – if it is proven to be successful in this country, we could very well be on our way to permanent four day working week.
So far, the response to the trials seem to be positive, with reports that a four day week could even create up to 500,000 jobs in the public sector.