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Saturday, June 25, 2022

Some UK companies will test 4-day workweeks

Louis Bloomsfield oversees kegs of beer at his brewery in north London, eagerly looking forward to June, when he will get an extra day each week.

The 36-year-old brewer plans to use the time to get involved in charity work, start a long-overdue course in particle physics, and spend more time with family.

He and colleagues at the Pressure Drop brewery are participating in a six-month trial of a four-day work week involving another 3,000 from 60 UK companies.

The pilot – said to be the world’s largest by far – aims to help companies reduce their working hours without taking pay cuts or sacrificing revenue.

Similar trials have also taken place in Spain, Iceland, the United States and Canada. Australia and New Zealand are set to make their debuts in August.

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, program manager for 4 Day Week Global, the campaign group behind the test, said it would give firms “more time” to work through challenges, experiment with new practices, and gather data.

He told AFP that it should be easy for smaller organizations to adopt, because they can make big changes more easily.

Pressure Drop, based at Tottenham Hell, is hoping the experiment will improve not only the productivity of their employees but also their well-being.

Also, it will reduce their carbon footprint.

The Royal Society of Biology, another participant in the trial, says it wants to give employees “more autonomy over their schedule and work patterns.”

Both hope a shorter working week can help them retain staff, at a time when UK businesses are facing severe staff shortages, and job vacancies are at a record 1.3 million.

not all pink

Sam Smith, co-founder of Pressure Drop Brewery, said the new way of working will be a learning process.

“It would be difficult for a company like us that needs to be running all the time, but that’s what we’ll use in this test,” he said.

Smith is considering giving his employees different days off a week and deploying them in teams of two to keep the brewery running.

When Unilever tested a shorter working week for its 81 employees in New Zealand, it was able to do so because there was no manufacturing in its Auckland office and all employees worked in sales or marketing.

The service industry plays a large role in the UK economy, contributing to 80% of the country’s GDP.

So it’s easier to adopt a shorter working week, said Jonathan Boyes, a labor economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

But it is more problematic for sectors such as retail, food and beverage, health care and education.

The boys said the biggest challenge would be how to measure productivity, especially in an economy where a lot of work is qualitative, as in a factory.

In fact, since pay will remain the same in this test, for a company not to suffer, employees must be as productive in four days as they are in five.

Still Aidan Harper, author of The case for the four-day weekSaid that productivity is higher in countries working fewer hours.

“Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands work fewer hours than the UK, yet have high levels of productivity,” he told AFP.

“Within Europe, Greece works longer hours than anyone, and yet has the lowest level of productivity.”

‘Recruitment of superpowers’

According to database company Statista, employees in the UK work around 36.5 hours a week, while workers in Greece clock upwards of 40 hours.

Phil McParlane, founder of Glasgow-based recruiting company 4dayweek.io, says offering shorter workweeks is a win, and even calls it “a hiring superpower.”

His company only advertises four-day weeks and flexible jobs.

They have seen the number of companies hiring through the platform jump from 30 to 120 over the past two years, as many workers rethink their priorities and work-life balance in the pandemic.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

World Nation News Desk
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