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Britain’s Going to Give the Four-Day Workweek a Shot and See What Happens

Picture this: a three-day weekend, every weekend. It’s only a dream if you don’t believe it and across the pond in the United Kingdom, they’re willing to entertain the dream. Thousands of employees from 70 different UK-based companies are going to roll the dice on a four day workweek, in which employees will bring home the same paycheck for a shorter amount of time in the office.

It’s part of a six-month pilot program that will be studied by Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College to gauge its impact on the economy, productivity and the overall quality of life of workers. Nonprofit groups 4 Day Week Global, 4 Day Week UK Campaign and a research firm called Autonomy helped organize the massive study.

“After the pandemic, people want a work-life balance,” Joe Ryle, the campaign director for the 4 Day Week Campaign, told the New York Times. “They want to be working less.”

Countries like Iceland, New Zealand and Scotland have already forged ahead with shorter workweeks in an effort to cut back on their citizens’ time in the office. Now, the UK is prepared to give it a shot, too. The NYT says 3,300 different workers from “banks, marketing, health care, financial services, retail, hospitality and other industries” will all be participating in the study.

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“We’ll be analyzing how employees respond to having an extra day off, in terms of stress and burnout, job and life satisfaction, health, sleep, energy use, travel and many other aspects of life,” Juliet Schor, a sociology professor at Boston College and the lead researcher on the project, said.

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