The majority of the firms taking part in a six-month trial of a four-day working week have decided they will continue to use it after the pilot ends.

More than 70 companies are participating in the scheme, which pays employees 100 percent for working 80 percent of their normal hours.

The six-month trial is at its halfway point and the data recovered shows the majority of firms’ productivity has been maintained or improved.

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However, on the flip side, some “traditional” companies participating in the trial said they have found the transition to a four-day week “tricky.”

Joe O’Connor, chief executive of 4 Week Global, which is running the scheme across a number of countries, said: “We are learning that for many it is a fairly smooth transition and for some, there are some understandable hurdles – especially among those which have comparatively fixed or inflexible practices, systems, or cultures which date back well into the last century.”

The trial is being conducted by 4 Day Week, a group advocating for a shorter workweek, in collaboration with Autonomy, a think tank, and researchers from Cambridge and Oxford universities.

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41 of the 73 companies in the trial responded to a survey conducted halfway through the scheme.

After the trial period, approximately 86 percent of those polled said they would maintain the four-day week policy.

The majority of businesses said it was beneficial to their operations, and 95 percent said productivity had remained constant or improved during the shorter week.

During the trial, more than 3,300 employees will receive one paid day off per week.

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4 Day Week’s data showed employees benefited from lower commuting and childcare costs.

The changes would mean a parent with two children would save £3,232.40 per year, or roughly £269.36 per month.

Will Stronge, director of research at Autonomy, said: “A four-day week with no loss of pay could play a crucial role in supporting workers to make ends meet over the next few years.”

Waterwise, which campaigns to decrease how much water is used in the UK, is one of the firms taking part in the scheme and says its team are now “pretty happy” – but it took some getting used to.

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Managing director Nicci Russell said: “It wasn’t a walk in the park at the start.

“But no major change ever is.

“We have all had to work at it.

“Some weeks are easier than others and things like annual leave can make it harder to fit everything in, but we’re much more settled with it now overall than we were at the start.”

“We certainly all love the extra day out of the office and do come back refreshed. It’s been great for our well-being and we’re definitely more productive already.”

The UK trial is part of pilots happening in the US, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Source: BBC

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