Workers in the United Kingdom just enjoyed an extended weekend to celebrate the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Now, thousands of employees will continue to enjoy long weekends.
On Monday, the largest four-day work week pilot program in history launched in the UK, with 3,300 employees across 70 different companies participating. Researchers from Cambridge, Oxford, and Boston College will assess whether employees truly can operate at 100% productivity in just 80% of the time — while retaining the exact same salary. God speed, test subjects.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Monday – Thursday)
Organized by non-profit groups 3 Day Week Global, 4 Day Week UK Campaign, and Autonomy, the six-month-long trial will include workers at companies as diverse as banking, health care, retail, and hospitality, and will assess outcomes far beyond just workplace productivity, including “stress and burnout, job and life satisfaction, health, sleep, energy use, travel, and many other aspects of life,” lead researcher and Boston College sociology professor Juliet Schor told The New York Times on Monday.
It’s just the latest in a long run of trials and movements to tip the work-life balance scales a touch more in life’s favor:
- 2,500 workers in Iceland participated in the previous largest trial, which ended in 2019 and saw no drop in productivity, CNN reported; 86% of all workers in the country are now eligible for 36-hour-or-shorter workweeks.
- In Spain and Scotland, the governments even offer companies subsidies for implementing a four-day work week. Meanwhile, companies in Ireland, Australia, Canada, and the US are planning similar trials this Fall.
WorkerGate: Though the trend accelerated as working habits shifted amid the pandemic, the concept is not exactly new. As Vice President in 1956, Richard Nixon even imagined long weekends as the norm in the “not too distant future.” The definition of “not too distant” is getting stretched, but a May 2020 survey conducted by GoodHire found 83% of 4,000 full-time employees support lopping off Fridays. Color us shocked.