London, United States:
Louis Bloomsfield is visiting beer cages in his brewery in north London, eagerly awaiting the month of June, when he will have one extra day off each week.
The 36-year-old Brewer plans to start a long-awaited course in particle physics and spend more time with family to get involved in charity work.
He and colleagues at Pressure Drop Brewery are taking part in a six-month trial of a four-day working week with 3,000 others from 60 companies in the UK.
Pilots – by far the largest in the world – have helped companies reduce their working hours by reducing their salaries or without sacrificing revenue.
Similar tests have been performed in Spain, Iceland, the United States and Canada. Australia and New Zealand will start their matches in August.
Alex Suzong-Kim Pang, program manager at 4 Day Week Global, the campaign group behind the trial, said it would give firms “more time” to work through the challenges, experiment with new practices and collect data.
He told AFP that small businesses should be able to adapt easily because they could easily make big changes.
The Tottenham Hale-based pressure drop hopes the test will improve not only the productivity of their staff but also their well-being.
At the same time, it will reduce their carbon footprint.
The Royal Society of Biology, another participant in the trial, said it wanted to give workers “more autonomy in their time and work style”.
Both hope that a shorter work week could help retain their workers, at a time when UK businesses are facing serious staff shortages, and job vacancies hit a record 1.3 million.
Not all pink
Sam Smith, co-founder of Pressure Drop Brewery, said the new way of working would be a learning process.
“It will be difficult for a company like ours to keep going all the time, but we will test it in this test,” he said.
Smith is considering giving his employees several days off a week and is deploying them in two teams to keep the brewery afloat.
When Unilever conducted a small work week trial in New Zealand for its 81 employees, it was able to do so because there was no production at its Auckland office and all employees worked on sales or marketing.
The service industry plays a huge role in the UK economy, contributing 80 per cent to the country’s GDP.
Jonathan Boyce, a labor economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, says it’s easy to take a short work week.
But it is even more problematic for sectors such as retail, food and beverages, healthcare and education.
Guys say the biggest challenge will be how to measure productivity, especially in an economy where a lot of work is qualitative, as opposed to factory.
In fact, since the pay will remain the same in this trial, in order for a company not to lose, employees will have to be as productive as their five days in four days.
Yet Aidan Harper, author of “The Case for a Four Day Week,” says countries that work fewer hours have higher productivity.
“Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands work fewer hours than the UK, yet they have higher levels of productivity,” he told AFP.
“In Europe, Greece works more hours than anyone else, and still has the lowest level of productivity.”
According to database company Statista, UK employees work around 36.5 hours per week, compared to their Greek counterparts who work over 40 hours.
Phil McPerlin, founder of 4dayweek.io, a Glasgow-based recruitment agency, says offering a shorter work week is a win-win, and even calls it “an employer superpower.”
His company only advertises four days a week and flexible jobs.
The number of companies they want to hire through the platform has grown from 30 to 120 in the last two years, as many workers have reconsidered their priorities and work-life balance in the epidemic.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)