A telecommunications company, a video game developer and a training company have become the latest companies to join a four-day, one-workweek trial as the scrutiny of work-life balance during the pandemic is intensifying.
Yo Telecom’s 90 employees will move from a 40-hour work week to a 4-day, 32-hour work week with no pay cut for six months from June. They will be joined by game developer Hutch, with 120 employees, and MBL Seminars, with 70 employees.
The trial is being led by academics from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, as well as Boston College in the US and the Autonomy think tank. It is overseen by 4 Day Week Global, a campaign group.
The UK pilot study appears to have gained momentum in recent weeks, with the 10th company set to register, with over 500 workers. Hundreds of other companies have signed up for briefings, suggesting they are seriously considering testing the move.
Joe Ryle, UK campaign manager 4 Day Week, said trial organizers were considering increasing the number of commercial participants from 30 to 50, given the strong reaction to the launch of the pilot.
Other companies have implemented the four-day week on their own, including the app-based Atom Bank and five-star hotel Landmark London, which said this month it would give chefs a day additional leave.
Landmark’s decision came amid stiff competition for staff in the hospitality sector, as companies sack limited numbers of workers. Unions said they hoped low levels of unemployment in the UK – at 4.1% of the labor force – would lead to higher wages for workers. A reduction in the number of hours for the same amount of salary can amount to about the same for many workers, who can pursue other jobs, take training or pursue other hobbies in their free time. .
Ryle said, “In the wake of the big resignation, organizations should embrace the four-day week as a way to retain staff and attract new talent.”
Nathan Hanslip, managing director of Southampton-based Yo Telecom, said he hoped an extra day off would mean healthier staff and better customer service. “I believe the extra day off our team will get will increase productivity, increase job satisfaction and improve overall well-being beyond anything we’ve experienced in the past,” he said. .
Shaun Rutland, chief executive and co-founder of Hutch Games, said he started the company with a “crisis-free” culture that embraced hybrid working – unlike parts of the software and games industries, which are known for long hours.
He said he hoped for improvements in worker productivity and health, as well as a boost to gender equality and “a more sustainable work environment”.
Morgan Rigby, Chairman of Manchester-based MBL Seminars, said: “Now that we are on the other side of the pandemic, the four-day week is back on our corporate agenda. It’s exciting, a new dawn for a new era. Although it is a challenge, it is one we look forward to.