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A four-day workweek pilot has been launched in the UK to measure the impact reduced hours will have on productivity, employee wellbeing and gender equality.

Around 30 organisations are participating in the six-month trial, which commences today and will see employees receive the same pay for working 80% of their usual hours. The pilot scheme has been organised by not-for-profit 4 Day Week Global.

The think tank Autonomy is a partner in the project, along with the 4 Day Week UK Campaign and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College.

Employees will be asked to follow the “100:80:100” model, in which they receive 100% of the pay for working 80% of the hours while committing to 100% productivity.

One of the companies participating in the UK four-day work week pilot is the British division of camera company Canon.

Alongside the pilot programme that’s being run in the UK, similar initiatives are being run in parallel by 4 Day Week Global. These trials are taking place in the USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

This is not the first time a four-day workweek is being trialled. In November last year, the UK’s Atom Bank switched to a four-day workweek without reducing pay for its 340 employees. The company has reported a 500% jump in job applications since it moved to the new four-day work structure.

Alongside Atom Bank, supermarket Morrisons has previously explored a four-day workweek for its staff of over 1,500 people working at its head office. Similarly, the international recruitment firm MRL Consulting Group was also trialling a four-day working week for its UK-based staff.

As per multiple case studies by 4 Day Week Global, the move to a shorter week suggests it can boost productivity and wellbeing for staff. This was confirmed by Microsoft, which trialled it in its Japan office and reported an uptick in productivity of 40%.

Another recent survey suggests that around 31% of Brits are looking for a job with a four-day workweek.

Joe O’Connor, pilot programme manager for 4 Day Week Global, said: “The four-day week challenges the current model of work and helps companies move away from simply measuring how long people are ‘at work’, to a sharper focus on the output being produced. 2022 will be the year that heralds in this bold new future of work.”

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