I work four days a week – I get 100% of my pay even though I only do 80% of the hours

AN office worker who has moved to four days a week on FULL pay says she loves the extra time off – and it makes her work harder too.

Ellen Andreassen says she is "more motivated" and also sleeps better after her boss cut her hours by a fifth without reducing her salary.

It comes as bosses across Britain switch to new working patterns to help their employees' mental health, attract top talent and boost productivity.

Today is the start of a landmark trial in which 70 UK firms will let their 3,000 staff work one day a week less while staying on the same salary.

The six-month pilot will test the effect on firms' productivity, the environment, staff wellbeing and gender equality – for instance, helping mums balance work and family life.

Researchers say staff will be less stressed and can work more efficiently to do the same tasks over four days.

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And the extra day's rest means they are less likely to take sick leave or quit through overwork – potentially adding up to big savings for companies in the long run.

Exeter recruitment firm Girling Jones moved to four day weeks in January and they will continue as part of the large-scale research study that starts today.

Productivity and profits have both risen since the switch, boss Simon Girling told the BBC.

He said: "All our inputs – calls, meetings, interviews – are up.

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"Quite simply everyone is doing more in less time."

Staff members say they actually work harder and get more done at the office thanks to the extra day's rest.

Ellen Andreassen said: "I'm definitely more motivated.

"One thing I've noticed is sleep. I'm sleeping a lot better and getting up is a lot easier."

Her colleague Josh Cockerill said he enjoys spending an extra day a week with his young daughter and it saves him money on nursery fees.

He said: "You know the fact that you've got a day off in the middle of the week, it gives you more incentive to work harder towards that day off."

Other employers joining the four day week pilot include IT and finance firms, small charities and a local fish and chip shop.

At Pressure Drop Brewery in Tottenham, north London, nine staff will try to produce the same volume of beer across four days instead of five.

Co-founder Sam Smith told the BBC: "I think it's about how you use your time.

"So when I talk about being productive I don't mean being faster at the task you're doing right now, it might be making use of the natural downtimes you have to prepare better for the following day."

The brewery's office manager Clare Doherty said the trial is "fantastic" and part of a "natural progression of how we work".

She said: "It'll take those extra few minutes of scrolling through the internet out of your day because you have to be just that bit more focused to get what you need done in the time you have."

Craig Carmichael, who works on the shop floor, added: "If I know I have to get stuff done in four days' time to enjoy that extra day, I think that will be a good incentive."

'Happy and healthy'

Last year Atom Bank hit the headlines when it moved to a permanent four-day week without reducing pay.

It was the largest British employer to make the move so far after successful trials in other countries showed it can be good for business.

The bank opted to extend the working hours on Monday to Thursday, giving the whole company Fridays off.

The Durham firm told us: “At Atom, happy and healthy colleagues = happy and healthy customers.

"It's business as usual."

But other firms – including those in the new trial – have shrunk the working week to 35 or 32 hours over four days, with no pay cut.

The six-month trial is being run by academics at Oxford and Cambridge universities along with a think tank and campaigners.

Researchers say workers can shift to a more flexible pattern with little or no drop in productivity.

The benefits for employers include reduced sickness absence and lower staff turnover, slashing recruitment costs.

It also attracts talented candidates who want a better work-life balance.

Which UK employers are taking part in the trial?

There are around 70 companies and organisations in the pilot but only 28 have publicly announced they are taking part.

They include:

  • Royal Society of Biology – professional body
  • Hutch – mobile game developers
  • Yo Telecom – telecoms services
  • Adzooma – online marketing services
  • Pressure Drop Brewing – brewery
  • Happy – workplace consultancy services
  • Platten’s Fish and Chips – chip shop in Norfolk
  • Eurowagens – car parts retailer
  • Bookishly – online book and gifts shop
  • Outcomes First Group – education and foster care services
  • NeatClean – eco cleaning products firm
  • 5 Squirrels – skincare branding consultancy
  • Salamandra – animation studios
  • Girling Jones – recruitment firm
  • AKA Case Management – case management firm
  • IE Brand & Digital – marketing company
  • Helping Hands – at-home care services
  • Trio Media – marketing agency
  • Literal Humans – marketing agency
  • Physiquipe – rehabilitation tech company
  • Tyler Grange – landscape planning consultancy
  • Timberlake Consultants -software firm
  • Everledge – tech firm
  • Scotland's International Development Alliance – industry body for Scottish charities
  • Amplitude – tech firm
  • Stemette Futures – education organisation
  • Comcen – computer supplies retailer
  • We Are Purposeful – activism organisation

Which companies were already on a four day week?

Here's a list of other UK firms offering a four day week on full pay:

  • 3D Issue – printing software firm in Donegal
  • Advice Direct Scotland – non-profit in Glasgow
  • Atom Bank – finance firm in Durham
  • Autonomy – think tank researching the future of work
  • Awin – consultancy firm
  • Big Potato Games – board games maker in East London
  • Blink – Norwich e-commerce firm
  • Canon – Edinburgh-based UK arm of the global camera giant
  • CMG Technologies – Suffolk 3D metal moulding firm
  • Causeway Irish Housing Association – London non-profit
  • Charlton Norris – recruitment firm in Leeds
  • Crystallised – Newcastle marketing agency
  • Earth Science Partnership – research group in Cardiff
  • Elektra Lighting – London lighting consultants
  • Evolved – online marketing specialists in the North East
  • Flocc – Cambridge and London-based marketing agency
  • Geeks For Social Change – Manchester software developers
  • Gracefruit – Glasgow cosmetics firm
  • The Landmark Hotel London – upmarket hotel in Marylebone
  • Legacy Events -management agency in Oxford
  • MRL – Brighton recruiters specialising in tech and finance
  • People and Transformational HR – Nortants design and marketing consultancy
  • Punch Creative – boutique digital marketing agency in Leeds
  • Reboot – Hertfordshire ad agency
  • Resiliance Brokers – climate finance firm based in London
  • Reward Agency – Manchester ad agency
  • Stop Aids – London HIV charity
  • Sinister Fish Games – Lincoln-based board game makers
  • Social Enterprise Direct – Glasgow finance firm
  • Softer Success – consultancy and training provider in London
  • StreamGo – Sunderland-based indie events platform
  • T-Cup Studios – Bath boutique consultancy
  • Target Publishing – Essex indie publishers
  • Technovent – high-tech medical services supplier in South Wales
  • The Circle – hub for charities and non-profits in Dundee
  • The UPAC group – Glasgow packing firm
  • Venture Stream – Newcastle marketing agency
  • YWCA Scotland – young women's movement based in Glasgow


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