A new program has been announced for workers in the UK, which provides the ability to work four days a week, with no pay changes. Three thousand workers belonging to the companies taking part in the trial will follow the new working model called 100: 80: 100 for six months. This means that workers will receive 100% of the salary, working 80% of the time previously employed (in principle 32 hours instead of 40), but they will have to aim to maintain the level of productivity at 100%. A way to experience where the reduction in working hours leads both from the point of view of the productivity of companies and the well-being of their workers.
Specifically in the UK from June of this year through January 2023, around sixty UK companies and organizations will experience the largest weekly four-day trial period. About 3,000 employees will experience the new reality of the short working week and even in the United Kingdom, it will be possible to test whether and how much productivity increases. The program is run by researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford and Boston College and by non-profit advocacy groups such as 4 Day Week Global, the 4 Day Week UK campaign, and the British think tank Autonomy.
The current 4-day challenge helps companies move away from simply measuring how long people are at work and focus more on the output produced. It would seem that 2022 will be the year of a bold future for work. Many times previously we have already heard about these new working weeks. In 2021 Iceland released the results of its trial which lasted for many years over a shorter workweek. Thanks to the latter, it was shown that the workers were happier, healthier, and more productive.
Focusing on quality rather than quantity in the workplace is in fact turning into an important awareness and for some years several countries have been testing similar innovations. Like Microsoft Japan which in 2019 reduced the workweek to four days, experiencing a 40% increase in productivity. Not only that, but the company’s move also brought environmental benefits, with electricity consumption decreasing by 23%. The printed paper was also used much less than usual, with a difference of 59%.
In September, it was reported that other countries around the world have or will soon undertake this new strategy, such as Scotland and New Zealand. The work patterns and the attention we all pay to our work-life balance have changed substantially during the pandemic. We are always looking at how we can adapt our work practices to ensure that employees find their time with us to be meaningful, fulfilling, and productive. So, I would say that it could be a fantastic initiative to help give a greater quality of life, after two years of the pandemic in which we have lived a very difficult period and did not feel free to enjoy the moments of life.