Four-Day Workweek to be Piloted in Ireland
A pilot programme announced in Ireland this week will support employers in trialling the effectiveness of a four-day week for their organisation.
According to Four Day Week Ireland, the organization behind the pilot program, a four-day week can deliver positive results for business and provide the work/life balance employees want post-Covid.
Under the pilot programme, employers will introduce a four-day week for their employees over a six-month period starting in January 2022. The pilot includes business supports to help organisations explore flexible work practices. The business supports include a training programme developed by companies who have already successfully implemented a four-day week. This will incorporate coaching, mentoring and advice from four-day week business leaders, networking and collaboration with other participant companies in Ireland and internationally and access to world-class academic research and expert analysis.
The pilot is part of an international collaboration with 4 Day Week Global, and will run on a coordinated, parallel basis in a number of countries including Ireland, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
Commenting on the pilot, Joe O’Connor, Chairperson of the Four Day Week Ireland campaign, said, ‘In the last year we have seen radical shifts in our working practices. More flexible ways of working are here to stay. This year has also given people a chance to reflect on what they value most and how they want to manage their working lives, and so now is absolutely the right time to rethink, review and change the way we do things, and move to a four-day week. We know from international research that a shorter working week doesn’t mean a loss in productivity – in many cases, it is the opposite.’
Major Government-backed pilot programmes of the four-day working week are already being developed in Spain and Scotland, and the four-day week has been successfully introduced in a growing number of companies worldwide.
As part of the pilot programme, Ireland’s Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications have announced they will fund a call for research to assess the economic, social, and environmental impacts of a four-day working week in a specifically Irish context. This follows the development of a significant international collaborative research partnership between Four Day Week Ireland, University College Dublin and Boston College.
This research will examine the impact of a shorter working week on private sector companies and public sector employers as they pilot a four-day week over six months. The research will explore the impact of a shorter working week on productivity, wellbeing, job satisfaction, environmental footprint, and household division of labour.