The world’s largest trial of a four-day working week was as we speak hailed as a ‘main breakthrough’ after most firms mentioned they might proceed with shorter hours after the tip of the experiment. 

The pilot noticed 61 UK firms scale back working hours for all workers by 20 per cent for six months from June final yr, with no minimize in wages. A minimum of 56 mentioned they deliberate to proceed with a four-day week, with 18 having already adopted the coverage. 

Workers mentioned they discovered it simpler to steadiness work each household and social commitments and that their psychological and bodily well being improved from having an additional time without work, whereas the common agency reported a slight income improve over the trial interval. 

Nonetheless, sceptics argue a four-day week is much less suited to sure industries, akin to hospitality and healthcare, and dangers crippling enterprise by driving up prices and inflicting employee shortages. 

Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin was amongst these casting doubt on the scheme, which he warned would push up costs in pubs. 

Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin was among those casting doubt on the idea of a four-day week, which he warned would push up prices in pubs

Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin was amongst these casting doubt on the concept of a four-day week, which he warned would push up costs in pubs

‘In a grocery store, wages are about 8% or so of gross sales. In a pub, wages are about 34% of gross sales,’ he informed MailOnline. 

‘If a 4 day week pushed up the price of labour, it might have an effect on pubs greater than supermarkets (attributable to their larger labour prices) , pushing up the relative value of a pint

‘The impact can be extra intense in smaller pubs , creating issues for tenants, for instance, with labour scheduling, because of the requirement for extra staff per pub.’ 

Residents Recommendation in Gateshead took half within the trial, which was coordinated by marketing campaign teams 4 Day Week International and 4 Day Week Marketing campaign within the UK, suppose tank Autonomy and lecturers from Cambridge and Boston School. 

How the six-day week was minimize to 5  

By way of a lot of historical past Europeans labored a six-day week, with Sunday reserved a day of relaxation – though some duties, akin to harvesting, might encroach on this time. 

However with most individuals working in agriculture, the shortage of synthetic lighting meant most individuals might solely work comparatively brief hours in the course of the autumn and winter months. 

The Industrial Revolution noticed a dramatic improve within the hours Britons labored, with 16-hour days not unusual. 

The primary instance of a five-day week was seen in 1908.A mill in New England, US, allowed a two-day weekend in order that Jewish staff might observe the Sabbath on Saturdays. 

In 1926, carmaker Henry Ford gave his workers each days off, and created a 40-hour week for workers.

By 1932, the US had formally adopted the five-day week, to deal with unemployment created by the Nice Despair.

The UK adopted swimsuit in 1933, when John Boot, from Boots company, closed factories on Saturdays and Sundays, and made it the corporate’s official coverage the subsequent yr. 

Nonetheless, CEO Alison Dunn mentioned it was not but able to decide to a everlasting four-day week, which she mentioned had pressured the charity to spend more cash hiring extra workers to cowl shifts if its contact centre. 

‘It has completely labored within the majority of the enterprise,’ she informed the BBC.

‘However there are some areas of the enterprise the place the jury remains to be out as to how efficient it will likely be.’

Critics argue the idea can be unimaginable in buyer going through jobs, or 24/7 operations together with the place time beyond regulation funds would current an additional price to employers or the taxpayer.

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, CEO of social enterprise Stemettes, mentioned shifts may very well be organised so not all workers have been off on the similar time.

‘There are many other ways to do it. Not everybody has to have Fridays off – you might have a barely totally different shift sample. The place there is a will there is a approach,’ she informed BBC Radio 4’s As we speak programme. 

Dr Imafidon mentioned her agency, which has 21 staff, gave workers Fridays off. She mentioned it might proceed with the coverage however monitor staff to make sure they have been sustaining ‘a sure stage of output’. 

Sectors that have been capable of adapt simply to versatile working in the course of the pandemic, akin to finance, are typically seen as extra prepared to embrace the prospect of a shorter week.  

A Metropolis stockbroker pointed to Dubai for instance of how the initiative might work. 

‘One difficulty is that you just’d want to suit individuals’s weeks round market opening hours,’ he informed MailOnline. 

‘If everybody goes off on a Friday, for instance, then the market will nonetheless be open. And it is linked to the worldwide economic system, with totally different markets opening at totally different occasions. 

‘It isn’t unimaginable however it might require a bit of labor. Dubai has a half day on Friday, which is perhaps one solution to do it.’ 

Accountancy big PWC informed staff they may end early on Fridays over the summer season, whereas FinnCap, a UK stockbroker, provides workers limitless holidays. 

Claire Daniels, CEO at Trio Media, said that revenue at her business - which had £450,000 sales last year and is budgeting for £650,000 this year - had increased during the trial

Claire Daniels, CEO at Trio Media, mentioned that income at her enterprise – which had £450,000 gross sales final yr and is budgeting for £650,000 this yr – had elevated in the course of the trial

Alison Dunn, CEO of Citizens Advice in Gateshead, said the charity was not yet ready to commit to a four-day week

Alison Dunn, CEO of Residents Recommendation in Gateshead, mentioned the charity was not but able to decide to a four-day week 

The outcomes of the trial revealed a big drop within the charges of stress and sickness among the many roughly 2,900 workers attempting a shorter working week.

Round 39% of staff mentioned they have been much less pressured in contrast with the beginning of the trial, and the variety of sick days taken in the course of the trial dropped by round two thirds.

Professionals and cons of a four-day week 


  • Fewer distractions at work
  • Longer hours doesn’t imply extra output
  • Elevated psychological wellbeing and bodily well being
  • Dad and mom with kids discover themselves much less stressed
  • Lowered carbon footprint


  • Not all industries can take part 
  • It would widen present inequalities
  • The fee danger for employers is pricey 
  • Staff could put in the identical hours anyhow 
  • Tough group administration

 Supply: Adecco Group

Individuals have been more likely to remain of their jobs, regardless of the trial happening amid the ‘nice resignation’ interval the place staff have been quitting at file charges in the hunt for larger flexibility, the report mentioned.

There was a 57% drop within the variety of workers leaving the taking part firms in contrast with the identical interval the earlier yr.

And ranges of tension, issue sleeping, and burnout decreased considerably, whereas extra workers reported that balancing care duties had change into simpler.

The outcomes even discovered that firm income elevated barely by 1.4% on common over the trial interval, and by a a lot larger 35% when in comparison with the identical six-month interval in 2021.

Nonetheless, a number of workers at one giant firm reported considerations about rising workloads, discovering their work intensified or they have been battling to work via prolonged to-do lists within the time out there.

The outcomes additionally revealed that some managers and workers felt the concentrate on effectivity had made the office much less sociable, which was a selected concern for the artistic firms concerned.

However Joe Ryle, director of the 4 Day Week Marketing campaign, mentioned the trial is ‘main breakthrough second’ for the marketing campaign in the direction of a four-day working week.

‘Throughout all kinds of various sectors of the economic system, these unbelievable outcomes present that the four-day week with no lack of pay actually works’, Mr Ryle mentioned.

‘Certainly the time has now come to start rolling it out throughout the nation.’

Organisations throughout a spread of industries took half. Eight corporations have been within the advertising and marketing and promoting sector, adopted by seven in skilled providers akin to an asset administration agency in Liverpool and an insurer in London. 

Changes in revenue at companies before they took part in the trial to afterwards

Modifications in income at firms earlier than they took half within the trial to afterwards  

Fewer employees reported suffering from sleep difficulties and insomnia

Fewer staff reported affected by sleep difficulties and insomnia

Staff also said they had more time to do hobbies outside work

Workers additionally mentioned they’d extra time to do hobbies outdoors work 

5 corporations within the charity and non-profit sector took half, together with Residents Recommendation in Gateshead in Tyne and Put on.

There have been additionally corporations within the schooling, finance, healthcare and on-line retail sectors concerned – and even a fish and chip store in Norfolk.

Every one was charged as much as £10,000 to participate, MailOnline has discovered. 

Most corporations selected to present all their workers Fridays off, whereas some mentioned they may take Monday or Friday, and others opted for no frequent time without work amongst workers.

In September final yr, when firms reached the midway level of the trial, it was revealed that not all had discovered the transition to a four-day week simple.

On a scale of 1 to 5 indicating how clean the shift had been, with a grade of 1 representing ‘extraordinarily clean’, 22 per cent didn’t charge the transfer to a shorter week one or two.

Nonetheless, about 95 per cent of the businesses surveyed mentioned productiveness had both stayed the identical or improved for the reason that introduction.

Claire Daniels, CEO at Trio Media, mentioned that income at her enterprise – which had £450,000 gross sales final yr and is budgeting for £650,000 this yr – had elevated in the course of the trial.

She added: ‘The four-day week trial thus far has been extraordinarily profitable for us. Productiveness has remained excessive, with a rise in wellness for the group, together with our enterprise performing 44 per cent higher financially.’ 

Different bosses who did not participate within the scheme however already function a four-day working week praised the concept, together with Robert Bolohan, co-founder of London translation service Lotuly

‘I have been working our company remotely for eight years now with my spouse, we have additionally carried out a four-day work week progressively,’ he mentioned. 

‘We typically work on Mondays or Fridays however not each. This works properly for our shoppers and the totally different time zones and in addition for our group who loves being off on Fridays to have a protracted weekend and are available refreshed on Monday to begin the week with full pressure.’

Samuel Mather-Holgate, an unbiased monetary advisor at Mather and Murray Monetary, added: ‘A 4 day week may very well be an amazing factor for workers, employers and the federal government. 

‘If staff are having one additional time without work, however producing the identical output in 4 days, slightly than 5, this implies there’s one additional day for them to spend within the common economic system stimulating tax receipts.’

Employees were asked to report whether they 'would like to spend more time' on a range of activities

Workers have been requested to report whether or not they ‘want to spend extra time’ on a spread of actions

The majority - 92 per cent - of participating companies said they intended to continue with a four-day working week after the trial, and 30 per cent confirmed they had made it permanent. Pictured: Participating companies' plans for after the trial

The bulk – 92 per cent – of taking part firms mentioned they supposed to proceed with a four-day working week after the trial, and 30 per cent confirmed they’d made it everlasting. Pictured: Taking part firms’ plans for after the trial

Dr David Frayne, a analysis affiliate on the College of Cambridge, mentioned: ‘We really feel actually inspired by the outcomes, which confirmed the various methods firms have been turning the four-day week from a dream into practical coverage, with a number of advantages.’

The researchers insisted the outcomes present the four-day week is ‘able to take the subsequent step from experimentation to implementation’.

‘The advantages of a shorter working week for no discount in pay are actually each well-known and well-evidenced: staff are happier and more healthy, and the organisations they work for are sometimes extra productive, extra environment friendly, and retain their workers extra readily’, it concluded.

The campaigners and lecturers will current the outcomes at an occasion within the Home of Commons on Tuesday.

It’s being chaired by Peter Dowd, a Labour MP who introduced ahead the 32-Hour Working Week Invoice in October, which would scale back the utmost working week from 48 hours to 32 hours for all British staff.

Final yr, a survey revealed that just about three in 4 UK staff wished to maneuver to a four-day working week after the pandemic.

The price of dwelling disaster – together with the worth of the commute – and childcare points are main the reason why so many are pushing for fewer hours and extra flexibility.

A number of ‘influencer’ companies are already working a four-day working week, together with Interact Hub, whose staff could have both a Wednesday or a Friday off, rotating each eight weeks.

Firms in Japan are additionally more and more switching to four-day weeks to enhance the work-life steadiness for its staff.

The UK firms that took half within the four-day work week trial: 

5 Squirrels – Healthcare

Adzooma – Tech 

AKA Case Administration – Domiciliary Care 

Allcap Restricted – Industrial & development provides 

Amplitude – Artistic Advertising Company

Bedrock Studying – EdTech (Main and Secondary Training) 

Bookishly – Present 

Increase Studios – Artistic & Cultural 

Charity Financial institution – Monetary Companies (Banking) 

Comcen – IT 

Eurowagens – Automotive 

Everledger – Expertise

Evolution Cash Restricted – Monetary Companies 

Future Expertise Studying – On-line Training 

Girling Jones – Recruitment

Completely happy – Studying 

Serving to Fingers – Housing/Well being and Social Care 

Hutch – Video games 

IE Model – Digital & Branding 

Literal People – Advertising / Promoting 

Loud Mouth Media – Digital Advertising

Merthyr Valley Properties Restricted – Housing 

MOX – Promoting 

NeatClean – Client Items 

Our Neighborhood – Expertise & Coaching 

Outcomes Based mostly Healthcare – Healthcare

Outcomes First Group – Care and Training providers

Platten’s Fish and Chips – Hospitality

Stress Drop Brewing – Brewing / manufacturing 

Rivelin Robotics – Software program / Manufacturing

Royal Society of Biology – Charity – Animation 

Scotland’s Worldwide Improvement Alliance – Charity 

Safe Digital Change Ltd – IT 

Sensat – Software program Begin Up 

Sounds Like These – Media

Stellar Asset Administration – Monetary Companies 

Stemettes – Charity

The Story Mob – Public Relations / Comms

Timberlake Consultants Ltd / TLKE Ltd – Software program Coaching Consultancy

Trio Media – Digital Advertising 

Tyler Grange – Environmental Consulting 

Unity – Public Relations / Comms

Waterwise – Environmental campaigning organisation (not4profit)

We Are Purposeful – Not for revenue 

Yo Telecom – Telecommunications Southampton