For months now the pros and cons of hybrid working have been filling our newsfeeds - is Wednesday the new Friday (or was that Thursday?), are free doughnuts the secret to getting people back into work and how many days is too many days when it comes to working from home? 

If we are talking about hybrid working, it's fair to say that employers still have much to chew over (and that's not just the doughnuts). But could there be a new horse in town that's about to steal the limelight?  

A large-scale trial of the four day week, organised and coordinated by 4 Day Week Global,  begins today in the UK and will see employees receiving 100% of their pay whilst working a four day week rather than five. Around 70 companies are reported to be participating in the 6 month trial which is being run in partnership with Autonomy (a UK think tank), the 4 Day Week Campaign and university researchers from Cambridge, Oxford and Boston. 

It is easy to see how the employee benefits from this type of working arrangement but we are told that employers can also stand to gain from adopting this work pattern, with this way of working potentially offering a range of advantages including

  • Increased productivity
  • Ability to save costs
  • Improved ability to attract and retain talent
  • Reduced levels of employee stress
  • Reduced carbon emissions with fewer people commuting to work
  • A happier workforce

It's fascinating stuff. We know the impact of the pandemic has led to many people revaluating their priorities and the four day week plays to those who are looking to balance their lives differently as a result. The researchers behind the trial will be measuring the impact on productivity and the wellbeing of staff and the results will be keenly awaited. 

Assuming the results are positive for both employer and employee, what might the longer-term impact be? Will the four day week catch on or will it remain the preserve of the few? It certainly feels like a very big step-change but given what's happened with hybrid working, perhaps, for some employers at least, it will be the logical way forward. Interesting times ahead for the future world of work.