Computing giant Dell is offering some of its staff in the Netherlands the option of a 4-day workweek as part of a trial aimed at offering more flexible arrangements for employees.
Around 60 companies in the UK are also exploring the concept of more flexible working arrangements, which will reach over 3,000 workers as part of a similar pilot scheme.
The UK scheme is being run by British think tank Autonomy and will run from June through to December of this year. Workers will get the benefit of the same amount of pay, but will only have to work four days, instead of the standard-issue five.
University academics are Oxford and Cambridge are key players in the trial, which is also taking in Boston College in the US and forms part of a wider collaboration with the 4 Day Week Global and 4 Day Week UK Campaign groups.
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Greater productivity but less hours
Business owners hope the experiment will result in greater productivity, help to improve working conditions for staff and increase overall efficiency in one fell swoop. Such a plan has previously proved fruitful in Iceland, where Reykjavík city council and the government trialled the 4-day week concept on over 2,500 workers.
Dell already has a similar trial under way in Argentina, while the Dutch scheme aims to widen the net. Additional tech staff are already being recruited who favour the option of being able to enjoy one less day in the working week.
The incentive also hopes to address worker shortages, with many skilled people wanting to work but not in the traditional five-day week fashion. Tech businesses have been finding it increasingly difficult to recruit new staff, so the 4-day week could prove to be a gamechanger for many, especially those keen to be part-time employees.
Business leaders, including Microsoft in the US, where employees tend to work long shifts and frequently add overtime hours to their days, are said to be following the trials with interest. Other companies, including Unilever and Panasonic, have already been experimenting with offering employees less rigid options for the working week.
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