The UK tests four days a week

The UK tests four days a week

Reggae in the speakers. A few employees load barrels amid huge stainless steel tanks. In this warehouse in Tottenham, north London, beer is brewed. 30,000 liters per month.

Be more focused and better organized

Claire Doherty is one of 9 employees at Pressure drop. She is in charge of sales and for a little over 2 weeks she has been trying a 4 day week.

“I try to deal every day with a more solid organization. If I start by saying ‘Oh I’ll do that tomorrow,’ my colleague may be way off and we’ll be left behind. I hope to work harder. More considerate in a thoughtful way. From the moment the work is done, over the course of a week, What is the problem?

More focused and organized, she can then work one day less, without losing efficiency, she is convinced of this. Good for her, good for the company. So far, his extra leave has served him mainly to shop, go see his bank, and make a medical appointment.

Nine full-time employees try out the four-day workweek
Nine full-time employees try out the four-day workweek

© Radio France
– Richard Bliss

“It all seems so boring. I’d like to tell you I’m writing a novel or something. But it just means that when I get back to work my mind is clearer because this free time allows me to take care of all of that too.”

“You must work for the benefit of the shareholders as well as for the employees”

Sam Smith founded this company ten years ago. This president in Bermuda makes it clear that he has no intention of conquering the world. He presented this experience to his employees with the enthusiasm of being a pioneer. But in a clear framework, he will not appoint anyone and the balance sheet will be drawn up within six months.

“Yes, anything is possible. We have made it clear to the employees: it is just a test. It will be a success if there is no negative impact, it should work for the benefit of the shareholders as much as it works for the employees.”

Sam Smith, co-founder of Pressure Drop, wants the operation to be a success for employees and shareholders alike
Sam Smith, co-founder of Pressure Drop, wants the operation to be a success for employees and shareholders alike

© Radio France
– Richard Bliss

In this 7-day-a-week society, less one-day work for everyone requires a lot of organization, especially during the holiday period thus reducing the number of employees. But Sam Smith believes so. He applies it elsewhere and is not so happy when he now goes to the pool on Friday. But when he is in the office, the level of concentration is higher.

“The main change is the level of anticipation for the coming days. Previously, we were in a 5 day routine where we knew everyone was there. Now everyone is more focused, we don’t put off what we have to do until tomorrow. We all anticipate and plan our week all the time.”

A New Zealand idea piloted in the UK by an organization called 4dayweek

This London brewery experiment, like the entire British project, is being led by an organization called 4 days a week. A New Zealand idea developed by business leaders and academics for worldwide dissemination. Awareness is clearer since the pandemic. Some employees have discovered remote work and the possibility of giving themselves more free time.

The 4dayweek Foundation works to raise awareness and provide organizational assistance. Training is offered to interested heads, as well as support in the early stages. Charlotte Lockhart is one of its leaders.

“As business leaders, when we focus on productivity without giving people tangible benefits to improve it, we are not creating an enabling environment. More free time also helps the rest of the community. Local associations and sports clubs struggle to find people involved because no one seems to have time.”

Academics from Cambridge, Oxford and Boston follow the British experience in detail. They will assess the consequences for the productivity and quality of life of the 3,300 people participating in this test.

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