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Scotland to trial a four-day work week

Following in the steps of Iceland and New Zealand, Scotland is currently planning trials for a four-day work week.

A four-day work week sounds like a dream to many, even if it means the same hours of work over less days.

However, Scotland have taken it up a notch as they look to cut down on weekly work hours by 20% – without reduced pay. With three days off per week to ensure greater wellbeing, the trial is hoping to reveal more productivity across workers, during work hours.

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Survey results suggest that 65% of workers feel they would be more productive if they had a shorter working week, and more of a work-life balance.

Currently, the trial is set to take place in office settings, but there are calls for it to be extended to other industries. This would ensure that workers from all sectors would benefit from shorter weeks.

Even though the idea is in its infancy, ministers are already being pressed by Scotland’s Progressive Policy Think Tank (IPPR) to trial more schemes.

Research has shown more 80% of Scots support the introduction of a four-day working week – ensuring their wages stay the same.

Trade unions have also urged the government to look at shorter working weeks, with research showing that this could increase productivity, as well as improve the mental and physical health of staff.

However, others have questioned whether the trial is necessary at all, and if companies need to place more of a focus on flexibility, trust and high-quality management. In this way, staff happiness and productivity levels could improve.

The mental health of workers is clearly becoming more important to governments and companies alike, with Nike this week closing its offices to support the mental health of it’s employees.

The Scottish Government is in the early stages of creating the £10m pilot to help companies trial a four-day week. It’s reportedly taking precedent from similar trials in Iceland and New Zealand to guide its own.