Based on a survey for the think tank, IPPR Scotland found that 80% believed cutting their number of days at work – with no loss of pay – would improve their wellbeing. The survey also found that 88% would be willing to participate in trial schemes. As a result, the Scottish government is expanding its ongoing trial of a four-day working week.
Among 2,203 people aged 16-65, around 65% agreed this decision would boost the economy and decrease gender-based divisions. The scheme does not imply covering a usual week’s work in four days but reducing the workload by 20%. In other words, employees won’t have to work long hours during the week to compensate for an extra day off; they will also be retaining their original salaries. The government is likely to spend £10 million to pilot the idea. They will help companies explore the benefits and costs of moving to a four-day working week. Further, this trial and error will allow for “a better understanding of the implications of a broader shift to a shorter working week across the economy”.
Who wants a four-day week?
💥85% of people in Scotland agree a shorter week would improve their wellbeing
💥9 in 10 would take part in a trial in their workplace
— Rachel Statham (@rachelstatham_) September 1, 2021
Working during a pandemic supposedly inspired this scheme.
A Scottish Government spokesman said, “The pandemic served to intensify interest and support more flexible working practices, which could include a shift to a four-day working week. Reductions in the working week might help sustain more and better jobs”.
To support these claims, a piece of research from 2019 by Henley Business School found that most businesses employing a four-day week got more out of their workers, who were also happier and took fewer sick days.
The typical target, for now, is specific groups like parents. However, people have argued the idea will only succeed if it includes all kinds of workplaces and professions. Many Scots don’t have nine-to-five office jobs and might be left out. The Scottish government might have to include non-office jobs and people working different shifts.