Data from the UK’s large-scale 4 day working week trial was published in February 2023. The data emerged from a 6 month trial involving over 60 businesses of varying sizes across a wide-range of industries. Each business involved moved its employees to a 4 day working week whilst maintaining salaries at a 5 day level.
The headline results showed that 30% of the businesses who completed the trial intended to keep the arrangement permanently. There was some evidence that productivity and output increased. The trial had a positive impact on employee engagement. However, its impact varied widely from business to business. Participants in warehousing and manufacturing businesses struggled to keep up with demand. Customer-facing businesses (like call centres) also encountered issues with service levels with some needing to recruit additional headcount (at additional cost) to make sure that service levels did not drop.
The outcome of this trial indicates that, much like the shift to homeworking caused by the pandemic, a reduced working week is easier for some types of business to accommodate than others.
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