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Four-day work week. Success of the British pilot programme

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Work less but get the same amount of money? Such a vision is a dream for workers and a source of terror for employers. Now it turns out that this vision is profitable for everyone. This is the result of the world’s largest experiment, which looked at what happens when you pay the same for being at work from Monday to Thursday as for being present until Friday.

5 Squirrels Ltd manufactures skin care creams. Since January, its pilot program employees have come to work four days a week, but have been paid for five days. After half a year, the bosses are delighted. Profits increased by 40 percent. – People made fewer mistakes. The four-day week made them a little more focused, a little less tired, had fewer distractions, and had fewer breaks. A lot of the work we did before was bug fixing. After the shift, people wanted to do their jobs as soon as possible so that they could go home on Thursday and have three days off, says Gary Conroy, founder of 5 Squirrels Ltd.

Staff noticed that the number of absenteeism from work decreased. Employees say that their level of professional burnout has decreased. – I won’t lie, I love it. Morale in the company rose very quickly. Everyone was really excited about a free Friday. They worked hard from Monday to Thursday to make sure that Friday would definitely happen. And it was really easy to keep that energy going,” says Lily Ellis, Production Manager at 5 Squirrels Ltd.

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Successful programme

61 companies took part in the UK pilot programme. After the end of the experiment with a four-day workweek, as many as 56 of them remained. A few companies only had to extend working hours slightly, but retained the three-day weekend model. It was, so far, the largest experiment of this type in the world. Only small companies took part in it. Two thirds of them employ less than 25 people, one third less than ten people. – In a small company, it’s easier to see how a shorter workweek makes employees more focused on achieving results. In a group of 10-20 people, people watch each other, see who gives their best. They’ll pick it up right away if someone starts slacking off,” explains Nick South, an HR consultant with the Boston Group.

Big companies are still skeptical about the idea of ​​shortening working hours. However, the pandemic and the forced remote work have meant that managers often have no choice but to adapt to the demands of employees who are used to more flexible working conditions. – It’s been almost 100 years since we switched to a five-day workweek and a two-day weekend. One of the first supporters of this model was Henry Ford. It was 1926. It’s time to start thinking seriously about the next step, says Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, an economist at the University of Oxford.

Forecast for the labor market in Poland

Forecast for the labor market in PolandTVN24

Many benefits

Proponents of revolutionary solutions point to happiness rankings, in which the highest positions are occupied by Scandinavian countries, where on average people work about 1,400 hours a year. For comparison, in 2023 in Poland, each of us will work on average up to 2,000 hours in total. ‘If we look at the countries with the shortest working weeks, they are also the happiest and workers the most productive,’ adds Professor Jan-Emmanuel De Neve.

More countries, such as Spain, want to experiment with the four-day working week. Participating companies will receive EUR 150,000 in support. The condition – shortening the working time must not affect remuneration.

Facts about the world TVN24 BiS

Main photo source: Reuters

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