UK Companies to Trial a 4-Day Work Week

June, 2022

Vocabulary list 

• Students read each word followed by the definition, focusing on the correct pronunciation.

• The teacher reads the sample sentence and the students repeat, focusing on the correct pronunciation.

• After reading the list, students try to make their own example sentences using the words that are new to them. 

• Students share their example sentences and the teacher gives feedback, correcting errors if necessary.

efficient (adjective)


working in an effective way without wasting time or energy

Industrial machinery has made manufacturing much cheaper and more efficient.


trial (verb/noun)


to go through a testing process / the act or process of testing something

The new scheme is going to be trialled in a few small towns before further trials will be done in bigger cities around the country.


impact (noun)


a powerful effect that something has on a situation or person

the internet has had a huge impact on society since the start of the millennium.


encourage (verb)


to motivate or influence someone to do something, or something to happen

Cheaper train and bus fares will encourage more people to take public transport.


productivity (noun)


the rate, amount or level of work or productive output that a person or company does

Productivity seems to decline during the summer and around the Christmas period.


roughly (adverb)


approximately; more or less

There were roughly nine million people living in London in 2021.


counterpart (noun)


someone that has the same purpose as someone in the same role elsewhere

The UN council is where world leaders discuss global matters with their international counterparts.


large-scale (adjective)


something big or major that involves a lot of people, resources and organisation

The Olympics is a large-scale event that costs billions of euros to host.

UK Companies to Trial a 4-Day Work Week

Over the last few decades, automation and artificial intelligence has helped to make many work processes much more efficient. Nevertheless, although in countries like Denmark, Germany and the UK, the average number of hours worked each week is less than it was 100 years ago, a full-time job is still typically five working days a week. But this could all change.

More than 3,000 workers in 60 companies in the United Kingdom will trial a four-day week. This trial will be the world’s largest of its kind and will run between June and November of 2022. Employees will earn the same salary as they would for five days of work, only they will work a day less. Researchers will then measure the outcomes and impact of the shorter working week, including how it effects productivity, wellbeing and the work environment.

The trial includes a range of different companies, including a fish and chip shop, a beer company and the Royal Society of Biology. One of the campaign’s aims is to encourage businesses to create better work environments for their employees. The research partners in the program include university researchers at Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, Boston College in the US, and the UK research group Autonomy.

Aidan Harper, author of ‘The Case for a Four Day Week’, said countries working fewer hours tend to have higher productivity. “Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands work fewer hours than the UK, yet have higher levels of productivity” he said. Employees in the UK work roughly 36.5 hours every week while their counterparts in Greece work around 40 hours per week; Yet British workers are the more productive. “Within Europe, Greece works more hours than anyone, and yet have the lowest levels of productivity” says Harper.

The UK trials follow a survey done in November 2021 of 500 British business leaders. The survey, by Henley Business School, found that 78% of businesses that had already started using four-day work weeks said employees were less stressed, and 75% percent said their employees were happier.

This is not the first large-scale research study of this kind. Four-day work week trials have also been done in Ireland, Spain, Australia, the US and Canada. Four-day work week trials were also done in Iceland between 2015 and 2019. The information the researchers gathered led to Iceland changing the country’s average working schedule. According to a report from Autonomy, by 2021 around 86% of workers in Iceland were working shorter weeks or getting the right to do so.



1. People all over the world work less than they did a few decades ago


2. Which one of the following aspects of the four-day week trial will not be evaluated by the researchers?

a. the effect on employees’ work output
b. whether employees’ are happier at work
c. whether it reduces environmental damage

3. Research suggests that people who work less hours a week are more productive.


4. The first four-day work trial in the UK was done in 2021.


5. The four-day work trial that was done in Iceland led to changes in the country’s approach to working hours.



  • Do you think people spend too much time of their time at work?

  • How do you think working a four-day week would affect your life?

  • How do you think a four-day work week would effect productivity at your workplace?

  • Why do you think people are more productive when they work less hours?

  • Do you think four-day work weeks will become the norm in the future?

  • How do you usually spend your time when you have a day off?

  • What other things would you change to improve productivity at work?

  • What do you enjoy most about your work schedule?

  • What do you least enjoy about your work schedule?

  • “Working smart is harder than working hard. It’s just less visible, and we care too much about what others see” – Shane Snow. What do you think of this statement?