In London, April 17, 2023. BEN STANSALL / AFP
Discreetly but surely, the four-day working week is taking hold in the United Kingdom. Around sixty companies (consulting companies, robotics or IT start-ups, charities, nearly 3,000 employees in total) took part in an initial six-month test, between June and December 2022, the largest organized by the “4 Day Week Global” campaign, launched at the end of the 2010s in several Western countries. The principle is the same everywhere: employees work 20% fewer hours, but keep 100% of their pay and the same work objectives.
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Published in February, the results of the test are largely positive: according to a study conducted by the University of Cambridge and Boston College on behalf of “4 Day Week Global”, 92% of organizations have chosen to continue the experiment: staff are more motivated, their productivity has not dropped. Twenty of them have even adopted the four-day week permanently.
Tyler Grange, a landscape and arboriculture consulting firm, is one of them. “This pace of work was an opportunity to review our way of working, to be more efficient and more creative: we cannot reduce the same load by working one day less without changing our practices”, explains Simon Ursell, the company’s general manager.
Less travel (the company has six sites in England), fewer meetings: “Our communication has improved significantly. Most of our customers work on Fridays, we have to make sure that on Thursday evening all our messages have been understood perfectly, otherwise they will call you during your weekend. »
“All companies will have to get started”
The 85 employees of Tyler Grange are not supposed to work on Fridays, unless there is an emergency (an anxious client, a problem on a mission). However, not everyone agreed immediately: “At first, it was especially the best in the team who were the most reluctant, they were effective over five days, they didn’t see the point of changing”, assures the leader.
A few people have even left the company, but Tyler Grange has no problem recruiting, assures Mr. Ursell, “unlike other companies in the sector”. He is counting on a productivity gain of 3% to 6% over the fiscal year ending at the end of July. “In the first month to four days, our productivity dropped by 6%, I was worried. But, very quickly, we went up the slope. It takes three to six months to pick up the pace: even with an optimized organization, the work is much more intense,” he acknowledges. He is convinced: “All companies will have to get started, otherwise they will no longer be able to recruit. »
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