Does a 4-day week work?

The world’s largest 4-day week trial is complete, and they’ve just released their report.

61 UK companies participated in the trial by reducing their employees’ working hours for 6 months without any loss of pay. The report is now out with interesting results for the future of work. Ninety-two percent of participating companies have said they will continue with the new working pattern, at least for now.

What is a 4-day week?

The 4-day week trial was the brainchild of 4 Day Week Global in partnership with Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, and researchers at the University of Cambridge and Boston College. 61 companies participated in the 6-month UK pilot, with participating companies operating in a wide range of industries including professional and financial services, housing, online retail, food and beverage and hospitality, digital marketing and sustainable homecare.

Think tank, Autonomy and top academics from the University of Cambridge and Boston College have released a much-anticipated report on the trial.

Highlights from the report include:

  • 56 of the 61 participating companies have said they are continuing with the 4-day week for employees.
  • 18 of these companies have already committed to making this a permanent change, with the others continuing with the trial to monitor longer term results.
  • Most companies are satisfied that productivity has been maintained, despite employees working fewer hours.
  • 71% of employees reported lower levels of burnout.
  • There was a 65% reduction in sick days.
  • Companies’ revenue stayed broadly the same, rising by 1.4% on average.
  • There was a substantial decline (57%) in the likelihood that an employee would quit, dramatically improving job retention.

Source: 4dayweek pilot programme

Would a 4-day week work for my business?

 Offering a 4-day week to your staff can have several potential benefits for both your employees and your business.

  • Improved work-life balance: Employees have more time to focus on their personal lives or pursue other interests, which can lead to reduced stress levels and improved overall well-being.
  • Increased productivity: Workers have fewer outside distractions and can better focus on their work during their working hours, leading to a more productive time at work.
  • Enhanced employee retention and recruitment: Offering a 4-day week can send a powerful message that you value employees’ wellbeing and can be a huge tick on the pro list when recruiting for people who value work-life balance and flexibility.
  • Cost savings: Depending on your business model, a 4-day week could potentially lead to cost savings on things like office costs and other overhead expenses.
  • Positive impact on the environment: A 4-day week could also help reduce your company’s carbon footprint by reducing the number of commutes your employees need to make each week. Another big tick for you not only with potential employees but with your customers as well.

Ok, I’ll take a look, what should I do first?

Change is often a thorny field, particularly in the world of work. A 4-day week will not be feasible or appropriate for every business, and it may require some adjustments to workloads, schedules, and expectations.

For those who want to consider how it could work in their business, think about some initial changes you can make first.

  • Do you really need that meeting? – Who hasn’t been in an unproductive meeting at some point? Before setting a meeting, think about what you want to get out of it and create an agenda. Set a time limit and don’t forget to nominate someone to follow up on the action points.
  • Can your email be dealt with on a phone call or message? Reading through emails can take a large chunk of someone’s working day, particularly if its part of a lengthy email chain. A quick phone call can often get the answer you need immediately or consider using communication software such as Teams or Slack for instant messaging.
  • Encourage your staff to use focused time. Go on DND for a set amount of time to crack on with a project or answer communications without unnecessary distractions.
  • Review your job descriptions to focus on outcomes, not tasks. Give employees the freedom to achieve outcomes in the most efficient way rather than following a possibly outdated and time-consuming process.

​For businesses that can make it work, offering a 4-day week can be a powerful way to attract and retain top talent while also improving productivity, reducing costs, and promoting employee well-being. However, there are lessons that all businesses can learn from watching the trial with interest and continually reviewing its ways of working. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for more results.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the social media and website you see online to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of things, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!


7 Key Benefits of using Temporary Workers

What are the Key Benefits of using Temporary Workers to meet the challenges of the new normal?

As businesses begin to push forward into the new normal, flexible resourcing and ensuring your team are optimised to quickly respond to new challenges is key.  Using temporary workers can help meet many of these challenges.  Here are seven key benefits of using temporary workers which can immediately give your business a boost.


  1. Scale up your workforce quickly

    Using temporary workers is a fast and efficient way of scaling up your workforce at short notice.  Rapid growth can be extremely exciting, but you need the right people with the right skills to ensure success.  When a company needs to expand quickly in response to change in demand, temporary workers can help to add the capacity and skills necessary to scale quickly.

  2. Fast-track hiring

    Recruitment agencies keep pools of pre-assessed workers with verified skills who want to temp.  We personally interview every candidate, face-to-face or online, to understand their experience, skill set and aspirations.  This means you will only see temporary workers who meet your specified selection criteria and who we believe will gel with your existing team and ethos.

  3. Quickly reduce stress and pressure

    Increased workload can hamper productivity within your existing team. Temporary workers can help reduce strain, ensuring you can adjust with your existing trained and experienced staff and maintain maximum productivity.

  4. Increase adaptability and responsiveness

    Flexibility is key to rising to the new challenges in this climate.  Temps are adaptable and can switch roles with ease according to your business needs.  Temps are focused on opportunities, often more confident to navigate change and learn new skills.

  5. Try before you buy

    Using temporary members of staff is a bit like a working interview, you can see their skills and experience in action, see the impact they make on the business and decide if you need them as a permanent member of the team – with no risk!

  6. Bring in fresh skills to respond to new challenges

    Temporary staff bring new, valuable skills, new perspectives to existing processes and ideas from different companies and experiences.  Breathe some fresh air into your business with a different kind of employee, embrace the new ideas they carry with them and enthuse your team. You may well find your next team member or future leader!

  7. Control your costs

    Temporary workers allow you to add staff without increasing your permanent headcount and costs.  You can hire multiple temps to cover spikes in demand, with no long-term commitment should demand or workload decrease.  Temp staff are provided at an hourly rate which includes pay, National Insurance, holiday and pension so there are no hidden costs.

Experts in Temporary Recruitment

From urgent cover to planned project work, Octopus Personnel are a great choice for reliable, skilled, flexible workers.  We have a pre-screened workforce ready to cover your staffing needs and the dedicated back office staff to manage all aspects of administration and payroll with efficiency, allowing you to focus on driving your business forward.  We are committed to building a valued and diverse temporary workforce, enabling us to find the best candidates for you.


How can Octopus Personnel help?

At Octopus Personnel, we are here to help and support you.  From helping you explore the key benefits of using temporary workers for your business to finding the right temporary staff, to fully briefing them on health & safety and procedures for your company, to ensuring you remain compliant with all legislation, even as it evolves, we are here at the end of the phone to help you utilise flexible resourcing and maintain your key services.

Whatever challenges you are facing, whether you need temporary staff, advice, or simply a chat, Octopus Personnel are here to support you.  Call us on 01747 825568 or visit the website to request a call back.

Anna Wiklinska

About the author

I’m on hand for our industrial and hospitality recruitment here at Octopus – think warehousing, production, construction, kitchen and technical type jobs. I also run our seasonal event work – this is a great option for those wanting to earn some extra money without commitment.

I really enjoy meeting our job hunters and helping them to find work. It’s been lovely to talk to local people and find out what matters to them.