Majority of companies stick to four-day working week after trial ends

Geraint Vincent has the latest on a new study that suggests a four-day working week could lead to more productive working conditions

Almost every company that took part in the world's biggest four-day week trial will continue the shorter working hours, with no loss of pay for workers.

The UK-based businesses which have adopted the scheme for all staff have said they are more productive and profitable, and hailed a healthier and happier workforce.

The findings of the pilot scheme will be presented to MPs on Tuesday as campaigners urge lawmakers to give every British worker a 32-hour working week.

Some 61 companies took part in the pilot scheme, which researchers have deemed a success, ranging from charities and financial services firms to retailers and a fish and chip shop.

All the firms had to make sure there was no reduction in salary for their employees.

At least 56 out of the 61 firms that took part said they plan to continue with the four-day working week, while 18 firms confirmed the policy has become a permanent change.

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5 Squirrels, a Brighton-based skincare brand, which will continue its four-day working week said the trial, had “worked across the board” and significantly increased its team's productivity.

The company cut meetings back to a bare minimum, and ensured any that do get scheduled were limited to 30 minutes and at certain time periods.

Chief Executive Gary Conroy said: “What we found actually was that projects didn’t take nearly as long as we thought they would, because it was the disruption and distraction that was stretching out the length of time the project would take.”

“Our productivity is up, our profitability is up, our sales are up, our output is up, you know, in less time.

“So why would you go back to dragging it out into another day? It’s really counterintuitive.”

Client director at Tyler Grange, which environment adivce, Nathan Jenkinson said: “We come into work on a Monday and we’re all firing on all cylinders. We’re ready to go, very up for work, and you can tell, and I certainly feel, that I actually have (had) time to switch off."Digital bank Atom moved all staff to a four-day working week back in November 2021, with no change in salary.

The lender, which has a team of more than 470 people, became the largest UK business and the first UK bank to do so.

It said it has been an “overwhelmingly positive” experience for employees, resulting in increased productivity and job satisfaction and a surge in applications for jobs at the bank.

Anne-Marie Lister, head of people at Atom bank, said: “Since moving to the new working structure in November 2021, we have not only seen a happier, healthier, more productive workforce, but also a welcome rise in applications for roles at Atom, whilst also hitting record high customer service metrics and significant business milestones.”

The firm said last year it had seen a reduction in sick days since introducing the new working structure and that employees were more motivated to work.

Ms Lister said the traditional five-day week is, in many cases, “outdated”.