4 Day Work Week Trial Launches In UK

31st May 2022

What is the 4 day work week trial?

From June to December 2022 companies in the UK are trialling a 4 day work week. It is a reduction from the standard 40 hours to 32 hours with the same pay and benefits.

Similar trials have previously taken place in Spain, Ireland, Canada and the US. Australia and New Zealand trials are due to start in August. 

The conversation about flexible work and the 4 day work week is a global topic, it’s all about creating a new way of working to improve business performance, diversity and inclusion, and happier employees.

Advantages of a 4 day work week:

Stronger employer brand

From a recruitment perspective a 4 day work week sets you apart; it’s a great employee perk. In fact, 63% of businesses found it easier to attract and retain talent with a 4 day work week.

Enhanced productivity 

Microsoft trialled the 4 day work week in 2019 and saw that productivity was boosted by an incredible 40%, this shows that employers should be more focused on measuring performance by output rather than hours worked.

Increased morale and improved mental well-being

A shorter work week allows employees to have an improved work life balance. 78% of employees with 4 day work weeks are happier and less stressed.

Promoting a greener business

For companies wanting to become more eco-friendly, the 4 day work week has shown to reduce costs of electricity bills and other utilities. As well as reducing the vehicle carbon footprint for employees travelling to and from work.

Challenges of a 4 day work week:

The implementation

Shortening the work week requires a lot of admin, and time to adjust, whilst understanding what works well and what needs to be improved. The plus side is that in the long run this could improve business efficiency and performance. 

Making sure it actually happens

Oftentimes, without strict guidelines and a culture that supports genuine flexibility, employees may feel compelled to work, or stay on top of notifications, on their additional day off. Companies must stay on top of this, and ensure that they are getting regular employee feedback on the trial. 

Customer impacts

A 4 day week could impact response times, meaning customers are waiting longer for a response. The impact can be minimised by ensuring that customer-facing employees don’t all take the same day off.

Scheduling issues

Depending on whether you choose to let employees have a choice on the day they take off this could cause issues with scheduling. Or you may opt for a set day, for example, having the Friday off each week. 

Not applicable to all industries

Shortening the work week will not work for all businesses, particularly those that need to operate 24/7. However, there may be other ways of adding flexibility and freedom for those companies that cannot have a 4 day week, such as shortened hours on certain days, or additional paid holiday.

What companies are taking part in the trial?

Here is a list of some of the companies participating in the 4-day work week trial.

Companies with a 4-day work week

Wundr is just one of the Flexified companies that have already implemented a 4-day work week, alongside Flipdish, who offer every other Friday off during the Summer. They all understand that employees need the flexibility to maintain a good work-life balance and work productively

Here is a list of some other well-known companies that have adopted a 4-day work week in some way: 

Many other companies, including Unilever, Toshiba and Canon are carrying out experiments of the 4-day work week. It will be interesting to see how the data stacks up once trials are complete. 

The future of work

A 4 day working week isn’t the only kind of flexible work people are searching for.

There is no doubt that flexible working options are the future, whether that be shortening the work week, compressed hours or adopting flexible working hours.

You can see our full list of Flexified employers and what they have to offer.