Four-day, one-week trial shows 100:80:100 model taking off in UK, but same job in less time can fuel stress and anxiety

Thursday, January 20, 2022 12:49 PM

Three lockdowns have caused many employees to re-evaluate the notoriously tricky work-life balance. The four-day work week is seen as the perfect solution, designed to provide employees with flexible hours and increase productivity during working hours.

For some large companies, the concept has proven to be more viable, so could the five-day workweek be the next traditional policy to revisit?

In a sign that the idea of ​​a shorter working week is indeed gaining traction, a six-month trial period of a four-day working week was launched this week across the UK, with 30 companies British who are expected to participate in the initial pilot project.

As the trial begins, AM City examines some companies that have introduced a shorter working week or could benefit from a four-day week, and the impact this is likely to have on employees and business owners, with some experts warning that the stress, isolation, anxiety and loneliness are likely to jump.

Model 100:80:100

Recent Glass Door research found that 52% of employees said work regularly eats away at their personal lives, while 35% said they don’t think a healthy work-life balance is possible in their workplace. their current role.

As a result, many eyes are currently on a six-month, four-day working week pilot scheme which launched in the UK on Monday.

Participating companies and organizations will test a four-day week with no loss of pay for employees based on the principle of the 100:80:100 model – 100% of salary for 80% of the time, in exchange for a commitment to maintain at least 100% of productivity.

Although more than 30 companies are taking part in the trial, many employers aren’t too keen on the idea, said Jamie Mackenzie, director at Sodexo Engage.

“The idea of ​​a four-day work week is not new, but is in no way less polarizing. Putting it to the test in the UK is a late move that could lead to another explosion in the evolution of work,” MacKenzie said. AM City

“The five-day workweek was cemented centuries ago, but at a time when workers had partners at home to take care of cooking, cleaning and childcare.”

Jamie MacKenzie

“The world has changed a lot since then, and even if you don’t have kids to fill your hours, our understanding of well-being, especially mental health, and productivity has increased by leaps and bounds. giant since the days of syncing physical and out,” MacKenzie said.

“It’s rare for an employee to use the 40+ hours per week they currently work efficiently and productively continuously. A move to four days a week could spell the end of meetings for the sake of meetings and help promote more efficient ways of getting work done.


The best long-term example, so far, is Microsoft Japan. In August 2019, the company implemented a four-day week giving its 2,300 employees five consecutive Fridays off, and the results have been a success.

Productivity jumped 40%, meetings were more efficient and workers – who were also happier – took much less time off.

Nine out of ten employees at the company said they preferred the shorter workweek and other benefits, including a 23% reduction in weekly electricity consumption.

Additionally, the company saw a 59% drop in the number of pages printed by employees, which was also welcomed by employers.

“No more stress, no more loneliness”

The UK trial – for a 100:80:100 model – has a strong focus on maintaining 100% employee productivity with 20% less work time, so the same amount of work in less time, has highlighted Rich Westman, CEO and founder of Kaido, a team building platform for businesses.

westman said AM City that this could lead to higher stress levels during these four days as employees “fight to ensure tasks are completed, as well as further impacting employees’ sense of connection with their colleagues and the subsequent sense of belonging to the company”.

“We have already seen record levels of loneliness at work, during the pandemic.”

Rich Westman, CEO of Kaido

“Companies participating in the trial will need to ensure that they continue to introduce initiatives during these four days, rather than relying on a sufficient three-day weekend and spending time thinking about how the four-day week is realistically implemented,” he said. added.

“We’ve already seen record levels of workplace loneliness during the pandemic, and with one less day in the office, it’s important not to lose that team bond and work harder to maintain those relationships as well as respect timelines,” Westman said.

Start-ups and e-commerce

Despite the risk of increased loneliness, an increased digital society is suited to a four-day workweek, some argue, since virtually all startups and e-commerce businesses rely heavily on the internet to stay afloat, providing greater access fast, convenient and more. efficient way to transact business.

“Building a business takes a lot of time, energy, money and creativity, and going to a four-day week is a way for many companies to cut costs,” said Sam O’Brien, Chief Marketing Officer of the Affise performance marketing platform. .

He pointed out that with many e-commerce sites offering 24/7 online services, this means that employees will be required to offer 24-hour customer service, which will make them feel overworked.

Marketing and Sales

While marketing and sales jobs can offer higher salaries, heavy workloads and extreme competitiveness can take a toll on employees working in this notoriously fast-paced industry.

Some advertising and promotions managers regularly tout their 40-, 50-, or even 60-hour work weeks on social media.

“Those who work in marketing can have the stress of competitors and keeping up with the digital world, which hasn’t been easy during the pandemic,” O’Brien said.

“The effects of the past two years have resulted in many overtime hours spent in isolation, at home, and staring at computer screens while sitting in uncomfortable chairs – extremely bad for your mental health, vision and posture” , he added.


During the pandemic, the introduction of a four-day working week was thought to boost high street sales by around £58billion.

Indeed, three-day weekends would give buyers not only 20% more time to buy, but also to consume, in particular by increasing spending on hobbies, gardening and DIY.

“Therefore, shortened weeks could boost the most affected areas, including hospitality, as people will be able to spend more time eating and socializing with loved ones during their extra free time with the same disposable income,” O ‘Brien mentioned.

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