Home News Four-day work week, tested in June in the UK

Four-day work week, tested in June in the UK


“My first idea was to volunteer, but then I thought I could do something else, learn a new skill,” says particle physics, says Louis Bloomsfield, who also wants to spend more time with his family.

“There are so many things we can do in an extra day,” said the 36-year-old brewer enthusiastically, inspecting beer kegs.

The North London brewery he works for, Pressure Drop, is set to take part in this huge test of a four-day work week starting in June.

This test, praised as the largest in the world, aims to help companies shorten their work schedule – without lowering wages or slowing down.

Similar tests have taken place in Spain, Iceland, the United States and Canada and are set to begin in August in Australia and New Zealand.

A program director, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, at 4 Day Week Global, the association that organizes these tests, says that the British test – for a period of six months – will have the advantage of giving companies more time to experiment and gather. data.

Adaptation is set to be easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which can implement big changes faster, he told AFP.

Pressure Drop aims to improve the well-being of its employees and at the same time reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

The Royal Society of Biology, which is taking part in the test, says it wants to give employees “more autonomy”.

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Like Pressure Drop, she hopes that a shorter work week will attract new employees and especially help keep the best of them in a highly tense labor market in the UK.

The unemployment rate – 3.7% – is the lowest in almost 50 years, and the supply of jobs has reached a record 1.3 million.

The brewery’s founder, Sam Smith, admits that staying closed for three days a week would cause difficulties, because “we need to be open all the time, but that’s what we’re going to study during the test.”

He wants to give various days off to employees and set up two teams so that the company can run continuously.

A shorter work week is easier to implement in the service sector, which accounts for 80% of the kingdom’s economy.

But in distribution, food and drink is more complicated, says Jonathan Boys, an economist at the Institute for Personnel Development, an association of human resources professionals.

In his view, the key to the success of the test will be to measure labor productivity, especially in the service economy, where much of the labor is less quantifiable than the output of a factory.

“If you go from five to four days, you lose a day of work, and therefore of production. So the real question (…) is whether an increase in productivity will cover that day that was lost (…). If not, then it will be difficult to maintain the four-day work week without sacrificing growth. “

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But Aidan Harper, a co-author of a book that promises four days of work (“The Case for a Four Day Week”), argues that lower-income countries tend to be more productive.

“Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands work less than the United Kingdom and have high levels of productivity,” he told AFP.

Conversely, he says Greece is one of the countries in Europe with the longest working hours and poor productivity.

4dayweek.io founder Phil McParlane says a shorter work week is a win-win option for both businesses and employees.

He also talks about an “employment superpower.”

His recruiting firm, which specializes in flexible work and a four-day-a-week work schedule, points out that the number of companies looking to hire on its platform has quadrupled in the last two years, pointing to a rise in hybrid work. and the search for a better quality of life after two years of the covid-19 pandemic.

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