The world’s biggest four-day week trial signals a new era of work

The last two years have served up major challenges for the UK workforce – the pandemic, burnout and record inflation levels. But it’s not all bleak. According to CNN Business, the world’s biggest four-day working week trial may pave the way to a happier, healthier and more productive future for us all.

For the past eight weeks, 3,300 UK workers across 70 companies have agreed to work 80% of their usual week in exchange for maintaining 100% of their productivity, with no cut to their pay. Despite a few initial hiccups as workers experiment with ways of meeting the new productivity challenges, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

One company told CNN Business it had introduced ‘deep time work.’ This means that for two hours every morning and every afternoon staff ignore emails and calls to focus on their projects. Another company spoke of a five-minute cap on all internal meetings and a 30-minute cap on client meetings. Some employees have introduced a light on their desk which they set to green if they are happy to talk, amber if they are busy but available to speak, and red if they do not want to be interrupted.

Seemingly, participants are prepared to do whatever it takes to make the scheme a success. They have their eyes firmly set on maintaining that extra free day so they can work on their fitness and general wellbeing. Some people have taken up new hobbies or are working towards longstanding ambitions, while others are simply investing more time in their relationships. The general consensus from employers is that staff are returning to work better rested and more motivated.

We’ll have to wait until November to learn of the full impact of the six-month pilot scheme, and to see whether participating companies decide to stick with the new schedule or not.

ABL, your trusted recruitment partner, looks forward to delivering the results of the study in bite-size come November. If you would like us to revisit this subject or any other recruitment-related matter in the meantime, please email us at or on 020 7092 3911. We hope to hear from you soon!