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Is this the end of the 5-day week?

2023 may be the year that a 4-day week becomes a reality for many organisations across the globe thanks to the latest UK trials being deemed a huge success.

61 companies including around 2900 employees took part in the latest trials enabling all employees to work a 4-day week instead of their usual 5 days on their existing salary based on the 100-80-100 rule built out by the pioneer of the 4 Day Week movement Andrew Barnes.

Andrew is now the founder of 4 Day Week Global, he and his team, work with businesses around the world to set up their own 4-day week trials. In a recent Robert Walters Webinar Andrew discusses how the pilot programs are “not about compressing a 40-hour week into 4 days, but how do businesses maintain productivity and customer service whilst delivering the other benefits to employees”.

Every company that signs up for a trial is offered support from 4 Day Week Global to rethink their current ways of working and implement changes in their business to support the shorter work week through a series of workshops and mentoring.

Charlotte Lockhart Co-founder & Acting CEO of 4 Day Week Global understands that there is still some skepticism around not being able to close a business on a Friday and or reducing hours but recently stated that “We are heading into some constrained financial times, now is the time to run a productivity focused program in your business.”

This seems to be a sentiment many companies who have taken part in the pilot agree with as 92% of companies that ran trials between June and December 2022 in the UK have confirmed they will be continuing with a 4-day week.

There have also been some interesting results around employee wellbeing from the trials, with employees surveyed communicating that moving to a 4-day week has lessened work stress, helped with a better sleep pattern and overall increased their work-life balance.

These ‘softer’ benefits have been dominating headlines and sparked more interest in the pilot schemes, Robert Walters recently conducted an online survey with 91% of respondents stating that they want their company to take part in a future trial.

As more trials and stats are released, we believe we will continue to see an increase in appetite from employees and a 4-day week may become a bigger consideration when moving to a new company in the future making. Organisations that become early adopters to a 4-day week may not only see an increase in company productivity but also an increase in staff retention and job applicants for advertised roles; this was the case for Atom Bank the week they announced that they would be running a 4-day week trial in 2021, direct applications increased by 500% and while they have now stabilized somewhat they are still seeing an 35% increase in direct applicants year on year.

Steph Lyons, Associate Director at Robert Walters comments,

“The 4-day working week is a strong differentiator left in a world of unlimited holiday and other work perks. An initiative like this can certainly help organisations stnad out form their competitors."

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