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Is the 4-day week model in the UK here to stay?

November 23rd, 2022
With around seventy firms taking part in the scheme, many are saying they will keep it in place after the trial period ends.

As a business owner or manager of a tech company, you might have heard of the increasingly popular 4-day working week, currently being tested by several companies in the UK. 4 Day Week Global campaigned for the scheme, asserting that it would help to increase employee productivity, while also benefiting workers by providing a better work-life balance. The organizers – consisting of 4 Day Week Global in partnership with think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign, and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University, and Boston College – say it is the “biggest ever four-day week pilot to take place anywhere in the world”.

The 4-day working week allows employees to reduce the number of days they work. The concept is known as the 100:80:100 model, as workers receive 100% of pay for 80% of their time, but they must agree to give 100% productivity.

As a consequence of the pandemic, which saw the majority of the population working from home for months on end, as we return to ‘normality’, businesses are turning to productivity-focused strategies to enable them to reduce worker hours without reducing pay. 

Pilot Programme Manager for 4 Day Week Global, Joe O’Connor, said: “The four-day week challenges the current work model and helps companies move away from simply measuring how long people are ‘at work’, to a sharper focus on the output produced. 2022 will be the year that heralds in this bold new future of work.”

The concept has already seen success around the world, specifically in Japan, Iceland, and New Zealand. For example, Microsoft in Japan began using the four-day week as a trial in the summer of 2019, as well as cutting meeting times in half. Not only did the company see a 23% reduction in electricity costs, but sales per employee also rose 40% compared to 2018. In the UK, the trial will last for around six months and companies taking part are being provided with support from experts, researchers, and academics. 

How is it going? So far so good, judging by feedback and reports from employees and employers alike. 

Matt Bolton from the creative agency Mox London, says: “On a personal level, having an extra day off every week has been huge. It allows me to spend more time with my family and my son. Also, from a work perspective, it surprised me how much more focused I am. The moment your mindset shifts to a four-day week, you become naturally more efficient.” 

Sharon Platts, chief people officer at Outcomes First Group, which has 1,000 staff and is the largest organization taking part in the UK trial, says the four-day week pilot has been “transformational” for the company. “We’ve been delighted to see productivity and output increase and have also been able to make it work in our education and care services, which we thought would be far more challenging,” she says.

Two leading tech firms, Amplitude and Everledger, are also taking part in the scheme. Leanne Kemp, CEO of Everledger, said: "The four-day week shift is going to be a game changer for Everledger. Regardless of our staff's job type, geography, or leadership level – a four-day working schedule will improve the overall health and productivity of both the company and employees. It's time we untethered ourselves from the norms of yesteryears, and all give the future a try, today.”

What are the advantages of a 4-day week? 


Increased Productivity & Efficiency

The 4-day week supposedly boosts the productivity of employees taking part in the scheme. Your company could benefit from the increased efficiency of its workers, as allowing them another day off leaves them feeling rejuvenated, well-rested, and ready to tackle their duties head-on. 

Improved Employee Wellbeing 

By allowing your employees an extra day to spend with family, and friends, or to rest and relax at home, their mental health and positivity during the working week will be much improved. Evidence from countless studies over the past few years has shown the importance of well-being in the workplace, and an extra day off work will help not just your employees, but ultimately the output of your company.

Forward-Thinking Business

In the tech industry, it is vital as a business to show you are aware of current workplace trends and contemporary working methods. Employees want to see that your company is forward-thinking, and open-minded when it comes to managing their workforce. Be it hybrid or remote working, flexible working hours, or virtual team meetings, all of these techniques, when implemented correctly, can provide great results for tech companies. By considering a 4-day week, you as a business will not only show that you are up-to-date with the countries pioneering such a scheme, but it will also show that you trust your employees to do their job.

Healthier Office Environment

Ultimately, a 4-day working week will result in well-rested, better-performing, and happier employees. Good moods and smiles all around… employees will enjoy working in the office on those four days, as people will be in good spirits, focused on getting their work done to the best of their abilities. 

Are you ready to apply a 4-week strategy to your nearshore tech team?

If you don’t know what nearshore is, and why establishing your tech team in Portugal could be a great move for your business, check out this article.

You can count on KWAN to hire and coach your tech team and to help you apply the 4-day week model to your team - wherever it is located. With over 15 years of experience in tech teams recruitment and coaching, we will be the perfect partners to help you put into practice the team management best practices!

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