Thousands of UK workers have started an ongoing four-day week trial with no pay loss.
From Monday, 70 companies have given their 3,300 employees a three day weekend without any reduction in pay. Instead, workers are asked to maintain 100% productivity for 80% of their time.
From a local fish and chip shop to large corporate companies, a wide range of businesses are taking part.
The programme, organised by academics at Oxford and Cambridge universities and Boston College in the US, will run from June to December, with a range of businesses and charities taking part.
Platten’s Fish and Chips in Wells-next-the-Sea on the north Norfolk coast is participating, along with the Sheffield software firm Rivelin Robotics, the London-based inheritance tax specialists Stellar Asset Management, and Charity Bank in Tonbridge, Kent.
Juliet Schor, professor of sociology at Boston College, and lead researcher on the pilot, said: "The four-day week is generally considered to be a triple dividend policy — helping employees, companies, and the climate.
"Our research efforts will be digging into all of this."
Watch: Meet the company where staff work four-day weeks
There are 70 companies in the pilot but only 28 have publicly announced they are taking part.
The firms include:
Royal Society of Biology — professional body
Hutch — mobile game developers
Yo Telecom — telecoms services
Adzooma — online marketing services
Pressure Drop Brewing — brewery
Happy — workplace consultancy services
Platten’s Fish and Chips — chip shop in Norfolk
Eurowagens — car parts retailer
Bookishly — online book and gifts shop
Outcomes First Group — education and foster care services
NeatClean — eco cleaning products firm
5 Squirrels — skincare branding consultancy
Salamandra — animation studios
Girling Jones — recruitment firm
AKA Case Management — case management firm
IE Brand & Digital — marketing company
Helping Hands — at-home care services
Trio Media — marketing agency
Literal Humans — marketing agency
Physiquipe — rehabilitation tech company
Tyler Grange — landscape planning consultancy
Timberlake Consultants — software firm
Everledge — tech firm
Scotland's International Development Alliance — industry body for Scottish charities
Amplitude — tech firm
Stemette Futures — education organisation
Comcen — computer supplies retailer
We Are Purposeful — activism organisation
The pilot is planned to run for an initial six months but if it works well the firms could make the approach permanent.
Mark Downs, chief executive of the Royal Society of Biology, one of the larger employers to take part in the pilot, said: “The four-day week pilot is a fantastic opportunity to challenge another long standing truism — that to deliver quality you must work long hours.
“RSB believes joining the vanguard of a four-day working week movement will position us as a leading employer, allow us to retain and attract the best staff and to continue to deliver impact and value. It will be another important string in the bow of flexible working leading to greater diversity of thought and people.”
“The momentum behind the four-day week continues to build, and this is borne out by the incredible response we have received from UK employers to our pilot programme," said Joe O'Connor, chief executive of campaign group 4 Day Week Global.
The previous largest study of this kind took place in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. More than 2,500 workers were involved.
O' Connor said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognising that the new frontier for competition is quality of life, and that reduced-hour, output-focused working is the vehicle to give them a competitive edge.
“The impact of the ‘great resignation’ is now proving that workers from a diverse range of industries can produce better outcomes while working shorter and smarter.”
Several companies such as Aim-listed tech firm WANdisco (WAND.L) and online bank Atom have already implemented similar schemes in the hope that fewer working days will boost productivity in the time when people are at work, as well as raise staff morale.
Similar experiments are due to be held in the USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, while trials are already being conducted in Spain and Scotland.