Flexible working: Staff able to choose working hours in new trial

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Hundreds of British workers will be given greater choice over their hours as part of a new pilot by the official four-day week campaign.

The three-month project will build on the original 2022 trial, with employers also trying flexible start and finish times, a nine-day fortnight, and compressed hours.

Two businesses have already signed up and the campaign’s director told the BBC it is hoping to target around 3,000 employees and 50 companies.

The UK’s biggest union Unison and several big firms support the experiment, but other companies have abandoned the four-day week after trying it.

The campaign’s director Joe Ryle said “hundreds of British companies and one local council have already shown a four-day week with no loss of pay can be a win-win for workers and employers”.

The campaign is backed by research from Cambridge University and Boston College, with Welsh community housing landlord Bron Afon Community Housing one of the first companies to sign up to the latest trial.

Director Unji Mathur said she has already been “impressed” by the impact a shorter working week has had on organisations’ performance, as well as employees’ wellbeing and retention.

She added that she sees the trial as a chance to help improve employees’ work-life balance.

The campaign group said that “at least” 54 of the 61 companies that took part have maintained the four-day week a year and a half after the original trial.

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