The UK cannot take full credit for the four day working week trials. During 2015-2019 Iceland had already experimented with the four day working week. Reykjavik City Council and Iceland's government, reported output did not dip in most workplaces and for some it had improved.
In the UK, however, during 2022, we did hold the world's largest trial of the four-day working week over different companies. This was conducted between June and December 2022. Companies volunteered to take part. The study’s authors called the experiment, which included 61 companies and more than 2,000 workers, a “resounding success.”
Marketing and advertising was the most-represented industry in the trial.
Brian Kropp, group VP and chief of HR research at Gartner says the idea of a shortened week isn’t so radical. Kropp refers to only 2% of companies experimenting with a four-day work or an alternative schedule in 2022, but this had jumped to 15% by March 2023, according to unpublished research conducted by Gartner that surveyed 250 executives at firms in the US and UK. Whilst 15% is not significant, the shift from 2% to 15% is.
Could this be an indicator that talent attraction and retention is being woo'ed by alternative work arrangements?
Juliet Schor, Economist who is leading trials in the US and Ireland says results so far have been overwhelmingly positive. Watch Juliet Schor in her Ted Talk.
Have you embraced the four day working week yet? or different working arrangements?
The four day working week might not be the answer for everyone. There are plenty of other arrangements you might want to consider:
- more flexibility
- increased annual leave
- increase of benefits to take off time for other lifetime events
- ability to swap working times with colleagues
- condensing hours during certain periods
- working alternate shorter weeks
- reviewing how time can be better spent
- rethinking and reshaping the working day/week, routines
Technology Companies like our's lead the way in different work arrangements.
Whilst it might be easier for some companies to adopt different arrangements, such as those with worker routines that can be easily mapped without loss to business performance, where their existing culture helps embed such arrangements, we must not forget it won't be easy for all and it may take different thinking and resources, to make it happen.
Whilst we don't work a four day working week at iDrive HR, we do operate on work anytime anywhere principles, which effectively puts control in the hands of the team to make appropriate arrangements to balance their own needs with that of the business.
We discuss the future of work with Sam Eaton in her Future Speak Podcast