You can work less but work better, according to an experiment currently underway in the United Kingdom. About three thousand workers from various sectors participated in a six-month experiment to verify productivity spread over four working days instead of five. The model calls for 100% pay for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment to still deliver 100% of output. The result is that over 90% of the companies that took part in the trial will remain with the model four working days out of seven.
The pros and cons of experimentation
There were essentially two factors that led to this decision: first of all, revenue increased on average by more than a third during the trial period compared to the same period in 2021. Furthermore, the number of employees who left the companies decreased significantly. Boston College Professor Juliet Schor, who led the research, explained how the results are largely the same across workplaces of various sizes, demonstrating that it’s an innovation that works for many different types of organizations. . From an employee perspective, 40% said they felt less stressed and nearly three-quarters said they had reduced levels of burnout. They also found it easier to combine work with family and social commitments. Skeptics fear productivity gains could worsen once the revised labor arrangements are made permanent. Furthermore, some employees complained of an excessive increase in workloads, due to the need to define and concentrate their activities in a shorter time.
A new post-pandemic model
Since the coronavirus crisis, many UK businesses have introduced greater flexibility for their staff, based on the combination of home and office working, although some are starting to revert to pre-pandemic arrangements. Decisions have thus far been entrusted to individual companies, but British politics has also taken its first steps in recognizing a significant transformation underway in the world of employment. Last October, Labor MP Peter Dowd tabled a bill that would lower the maximum working week from 48 to 32 hours for all British workers.