London, United Kingdom:
Louis Bloomsfield inspects casks of beer at his brewery in north London, eagerly awaiting June, when he will be given an extra day off a 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 his family.
He and his colleagues at Pressure Drop brewery are participating in a 6-month trial in a 4-day workweek, along with 3,000 others from 60 companies in the UK.
The pilot program – billed as the world’s largest to date – aims to help companies shorten working hours without cutting wages or sacrificing revenue.
Similar trials have also taken place in Spain, Iceland, the United States and Canada. Australia and New Zealand are scheduled to start in August.
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, program director at 4 Day Week Global, the campaign group behind the trial, said it would give companies “more time” to overcome challenges, testing methods new and collect data.
He told AFP.
The pressure reducing company, based in Tottenham Hale, hopes the trial will not only improve employee productivity but also their well-being.
At the same time, it will reduce their carbon footprint.
The Royal Society of Biology, another member of the trial, said it wanted to give employees “greater autonomy over when and how they work”.
Both hope a shorter work week can help them retain staff, at a time when businesses in the UK are facing severe staff shortages and job vacancies hit record 1.3 million.
Not all are rosy
Sam Smith, co-founder of Brewery Pressure Drop says the new way of working will be a learning process.
“It would be very difficult for a company like ours that has always been in business, but that is what we are going to test in this test,” he said.
Smith is considering giving employees different days of the week and deploying them into two teams to keep the brewery running smoothly.
When Unilever tried a shorter workweek for its 81 employees in New Zealand, Unilever was only able to do so because no manufacturing was taking place in its Auckland office and all employees worked in the department. sales or marketing department.
The service sector plays a huge role in the UK economy, contributing 80% of the country’s GDP.
Jonathan Boys, a labor economist at the Chartered Institute of Human Resources and Development, says a shorter workweek is therefore more acceptable.
But for sectors like retail, food and beverage, healthcare and education, it matters more.
Boys said the biggest challenge will be how to measure productivity, especially in an economy where there are so many qualitative jobs as opposed to factory jobs.
Indeed, since wages would stay the same in this experiment, for a company to not lose money, employees would have to be productive for four days equal to five days.
However, Aidan Harper, author of “The Case for a Four-Day Week,” says countries that work fewer hours tend to be more productive.
“Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands work fewer hours than the UK, but have a higher level of productivity,” he told AFP.
“In Europe, Greece works longer hours than anyone, but has the lowest levels of productivity.”
‘Hire super powers’
According to database company Statista, employees in the UK work around 36.5 hours per week, compared with others in Greece, who work over 40 hours, according to database company Statista.
Phil McParlane, founder of Glasgow-based recruitment agency 4dayweek.io, says that offering a shorter workweek is a win-win, and even calls it a “recruiting superpower.” “.
His company advertises only four days a week and flexible jobs.
They have seen the number of companies looking to hire through the platform increase from 30 to 120 in the past two years, as more workers reconsider their priorities and work-life balance during the pandemic.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from the syndication feed.)