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More than 30 companies will participate in a six month trial led by 4 Day Week Global. Also involved are think tank Autonomy, and researchers at Oxford University, Boston College and Cambridge University. The scheme will run from June 2022 to December 2022.
Joe O’Connor, the 4 Day Week Global’s pilot program manager, said reduced working time was the remedy for the post-pandemic “great global resignation wave”.
“In the last six to eight months, with the great resignation, companies are finding it a lot harder to retain the best people and attract more talent,” he told the Standard.
“The scheme takes the focus off time spent at work and instead allows business to focus on the actual output. It also reduces sick leave and work burn out and in this time of the great resignation, it will be good for the retention of staff.”
Mass burnout felt by employees from emotional and mental stress has been cited as a key factor contributing to the high attrition rates worldwide over 2021.
O’Connor says a 4 day week saves money by “reducing the cost of having to employ and train new members of staff” as employee turnover drops.
Durham’s mobile app-based Atom bank, is the largest UK company to successfully introduce the policy. Employees had their hours reduced with zero reduction in salary.
CEO Mark Mullen said the scheme had greatly improved employee business productivity as well as employees’ mental health. “In every top line measure after two months the data we have a seen shows a positive trend in sickness, staff attrition and customer service,” he explained the Standard.
“The 26 key metrics across the whole bank have seen improvements in 16 and a decline in only two.
“Staff surveys show 90% of employees feel they can do their work within the four day period.
“The number of people who feel stressed at work decreased from 43% to 24%. The number of people who look forward to work is now at 88%, up from 77%. And then 89% believe their department has found efficiencies in how they work together.”
The 4-Day Working Week Global trial is also being conducted abroad in the US, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Andrew Duncan, Partner and UK CEO at Infosys Consulting, had words of warning. He told the Standard: “Without clear guidelines, employers are at risk of a quality downturn as talent attempts to squeeze the same amount of work into four days instead of five.
“This also poses risks from a people management point of view, potentially resulting in burnout or staff working outside of agreed hours – the opposite of what was intended.”