Less is more: pilot tests in the four-day week

If there is a better way of working that makes you happier and more productive, why not try it? This was the thought of Kickstarter, which for the past six months he has been trying the four-day work week without loss of wages for staff.

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“They are happier and more refreshed after a three-day weekend to recharge. And we're more efficient as a company," says Wolf Owczarek, director of operations at Kickstarter.

This idea, that workers can accomplish the same amount of work in less time, may seem counterintuitive. But it could be the key to solving two huge challenges – fixing the often-awful work-life balance of employees while also solving the productivity conundrum that has plagued organizations for years.

Encouraged by a growing body of academic research and success stories from Iceland, Japan, New Zealand and elsewhere, companies around the world are abandoning the traditional Monday-Friday model in favor of a four-day work week.

Most of them don't look back.

In the UK, Atom Bank introduced a four-day, 32-hour working week with no pay cut for staff in November 2021. Almost immediately, the company reports seeing a 500% increase in applications for vacancies, and in August 2022 the organization reported that productivity had increased by an incredible 92%. An employee survey found that 91% of staff were able to complete everything they needed to in four days.

In June 2022, 70 companies in the UK comprising 3.300 employers launched this biggest workplace experiment of this generation.

Led by 4 Day Week Global, the campaign group currently running trials with companies around the world, UK think-tank Autonomy and researchers from the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Boston College, the six-month pilot aim to explore whether the four-day working week can positively impact productivity, wellbeing and work-life balance, while addressing wider socio-economic challenges around equity at work and carbon emissions.

The tests are based on the 100/80/100 principle: workers receive 100% pay for 80% of their usual hours, in exchange for a commitment to maintain 100% productivity. Similar pilot programs are running in tandem in the US and elsewhere. If successful, the results could help bring about the most significant reforms to traditional work models in nearly 100 years.

In half of the UK pilot trials, 88% of respondents reported that the four-day week worked well for their business. Nearly half (46%) said productivity had "stayed about the same," 34% said it had "improved slightly," and 15% said productivity had "improved significantly" after implementing the four-day week.

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Written by giorgos

George still wonders what he's doing here ...

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