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A hundred UK companies have signed up for a permanent four-day working week for all their employees with no loss of pay, a milestone in the campaign to fundamentally change Britain’s approach to work.

The 100 companies employ 2,600 staff – a tiny fraction of the UK’s working population – but the 4 Day Week Campaign group is hoping they will be the vanguard of a major shift.

Proponents of the four-day week say that the five-day pattern is a hangover from an earlier economic age. They argue that a four-day week would drive companies to improve their productivity, meaning they can create the same output using fewer hours. For some early adopters the policy has also proven a useful way of attracting and retaining employees.

In September, 88% of those companies in a survey at the middle of the trial said the four-day week was working “well” for their business at that stage of the trial. About 95% of the companies surveyed said productivity had either stayed the same or improved since the introduction.

Joe Ryle, the UK campaign’s director, said there was increasing momentum in the adoption of the four-day week, even as companies brace for a long recession.

Most of the companies that have officially adopted the four-day week are in the services sector such as technology, events or marketing companies. However, the campaign said that some manufacturing and construction employers had also signed up.

Thoughts on 4 day week? 

I am there already and the shift has been remarkable. I hope the rest of the world gets to experience this too. It makes too much sense to not to be the norm.