A trial of a four day work week has been launched in the UK to measure whether employees are more productive with a three day weekend.
This comes after a long debate over the benefits of having a long weekend. More businesses have been willing to try it out after countries like New Zealand, Iceland and Sweden have trialled it successfully. The UK trial will measure the productivity of around 30 businesses for a six month period. Employees will be paid the same but are expected to give 100% productivity 80% of the time.
But will it actually work? Here's what was discovered from previous trials.
It Cuts Costs
One of the obvious findings was that it cut costs. Where the office was closed for that extra day, energy bills dropped. Employers and employees saved money on lunch and commuting - which was also great for the environment.
It Improves Wellbeing
With the extra free time, employers were understandably happier. This leads to better-working environments and employees being more focused on their work.
It Increases Productivity
The biggest find was the massive increase in productivity. It seemed that with more free time, employees focused on their work more deeply when they were in the office.
Microsoft Japan reported a huge 40% increase in productivity when they adopted the four day work week.
It Reduces burnout & improves Employee Retention
Overall, with the increase in employee well being and more free time, employees called in sick less often and became more loyal to the business. It also encouraged more applicants to apply for the job when a position became available. Having the three day work week is still quite rare which makes the position more desirable.
Of course, there were disadvantages to the four day work week too. Risking customer satisfaction was an issue when it came to response times. And for the companies open 24/7, like hospitals, not having enough staff to cover shifts were a big issue.
For many, the pros outweighed the cons. Following the trial, many companies in Iceland and Sweden have already implemented the four day work week. Will this be the dawn of the four-day workweek in Britain?