UK companies that have introduced a four-day work week in 2023 Job seekers are increasingly prioritising flexible working for the many benefits it brings. Written by Helena Young Updated on 21 August 2023 Our experts We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality. Written and reviewed by: Helena Young Lead Writer The traditional 9-5 is dead. Four in five UK businesses now believe flexible working is critical to success. With previously progressive policies like remote working now the norm, the top employee benefit in town is the four-day work week.Research indicates the demand is high. 7 in 10 employees plan to request the schedule this year. Now, their employers are beginning to respond. Moving away from strict rules around ‘clocking in’, they are letting staff plan their work around their personal commitments – not the other way around.After the success of a six-month long experiment that ended in 2022, 56 companies have now chosen to fully adopt a reduced working model. The strategy has been proven to boost mental health and protect productivity – plus provide a three day-weekend to boot.Below you’ll find a list of the organisations that are trialling reduced hours in 2023. We’ve also catalogued seven case studies from early adopters, to give curious small employers a better understanding of how the policy works in practice. This article will cover: UK companies that have introduced a four-day week in 2023 7 inspirational examples of businesses with a four-day week (and what you can learn from them) What is the four-day work week? UK companies that have introduced a four-day week in 2023The four-day work week could well become a reality for many in 2023. To help business owners stay on top of the trend, we’ll be keeping the below list updated with news from any UK employers which implement or pilot a four-day working week.AwinOne of the largest employers to test out a four-day work week last year was the global affiliate platform Awin, which employs over 1,300 people. Following the trial, 94% of employees felt their work-life balance had improved. Most excitingly, business profits grew by 13%. Awin gave staff the option to work a flexible week in February.DunelmDunelm became one of the largest high-street retailers to trial a four-day working pattern in March. The company is currently testing the plans in selected departments. Should this go well, it may expand the initiative to its 170 stores across the UK.CamlasWelsh PR firm, Camlas, became the first public affairs company in Wales to introduce a four-day week in May following a successful trial. The company says it hopes the new way of working will help staff keep a successful “work-life balance” and thrive “both professionally and personally”.Bex Design and PrintIn June, industrial printer Bex Design & Print announced its print factory in Calne, Wiltshire will completely shut down to save electricity, reduce employee car journeys, and improve productivity. Managing director Mel Conway added: “Giving our factory team a three-day weekend means they can come back to work every Monday feeling refreshed.”PR DispatchLondon-based PR company, PR Dispatch, recently transitioned to a four-day week. Every Friday, the office shuts down to ensure staff can benefit from the flexibility of a three day weekend.Founder, Rosie Davies-Smith told Startups: “By Thursday evenings, I've realised that I'm crossing off more tasks on my to-do list, thanks to increased focus. I've observed an overall increase in productivity among the team, which has positively impacted PR Dispatch's output.”Springbok AIAt the end of June, Springbok AI, a leading AI consultancy, announced it would implement 4-day working week for staff. The move follows the success of a year-long pilot that resulted in a 16% increase in employee wellbeing.Victoria Albrecht, CEO and Co-founder of Springbok AI said: “This move reaffirms our commitment to innovation and underscores the importance we place on our people's wellbeing.”Tyler GrangeTyler Grange, an environmental consultancy firm based in London, announced it would implement a four-day week in June 2023 after a successful trial run in 2022.In a blog explaining the decision, co-founder Simon Ursell said: “We found a four-day week is more productive, we do about 106% of the work in four days that we used to do in five. And that’s because we are better at it, not because we are compressing hours.”BE YELLOWNewly-launched PR and marketing agency, BE YELLOW announced staff would all work a four-day week from day one of employment, giving employees one day a week to focus on professional and personal development.Speaking to Startups about the benefits of adopting this shortened schedule, BE YELLOW co-founder Hayley Knight revealed: “I have noticed reduced stress levels, increased happiness, and more time for creativity and developing ideas for my clients, as well as more time for my loved ones.” 7 inspirational examples of businesses with a four-day week (and what you can learn from them)Some employers are ahead of the game. Here are seven companies that have been working a four-day week since pre-2023, and what they’ve learned from the experience.1. Atom BankIn November 2021, the app-based lender became the UK’s biggest employer to trial a four-day week. Testing complete, Atom Bank reported a 49% increase in applications for roles at the bank, and a 13% increase in employee engagement year-on-year. The bank’s 424 employees have since moved to working 34 hours for the same pay.Anne-Marie Lister, Chief People Officer at Atom bank, said: “We are a progressive bank and a progressive employer. Our experience in planning for and moving to a four-day week has shown that it is possible for businesses to do this and bring huge benefits to their people.”2. EarthlyStartups-100 firm, Earthly is a green technology platform that helps businesses remove at least one billion of carbon through nature by 2030. The company’s culture is similarly forward-thinking, with its employee base working 32 hours per week with no loss of pay.The perk has not been given in isolation, however. On top of this, every staff member is fully remote at the company and can choose to work flexible hours between 7am and 8pm.Earthly also offers generous maternal and paternal leave – two popular benefits and perks that are in high demand amongst working parents.3. JMK SolicitorsJMK Solicitors is one of the first employers in Northern Ireland to commit to and implement a four-day week for all employees, with no reduction in pay. Since January 2020, all JMK staff have had their work hours reduced from 37.5 hours to 30 hours with no loss of pay.Michelle Murphy, HR and Operations Manager at JMK Solicitors revealed that the shift had made the company more resilient to disruption caused by the pandemic, stating it “prepared our people for the tsunami of rapid developments that the COVID crisis brought about.”4. London Landmark HotelFive star hotel, The London Landmark is one of the few hospitality firms that caters for a four-day week. Last January, executive head chef Gary Klaner unveiled the plans as part of a strategy to improve overall work-life balance for its chefs.For F&B businesses looking for inspiration, a smart recruitment strategy appears to have played a big role in the Landmark’s four-day success. In a press release, the hotel clarified that productivity was “maintained through a recruitment drive in January and February, which increased the number of kitchen staff that the hotel employs.”5. ScoroAs an end-to-end work management software, it's only fitting that Scoro has made managing work-life balance equally simple for its 140 employees.In July 2022, after discovering how ‘unproductive’ Fridays were at the company (all system usage of Scoro’s platform goes down by 23% at the end of the week) every team member began working a 32-hour, four-day week. Crucially, with no drop in salary.Founder and CEO, Fred Krieger thinks collaboration software has proved crucial to this success. “As long as companies consider their processes, and use the right technology, transitioning isn’t only possible – but potentially the best decision a company can make.”6. SensatSensat describes itself as a data company that helps firms to ‘make smarter decisions’. The successful implementation of a four-day week proves it’s more than qualified to advise.Since March 2022, employees at the drone technology startup (which was also runner-up in our list of the top 100 startups for 2023) have enjoyed a 32 hour week on a full salary. It’s also had a hugely positive impact on organisational culture.Sensat cofounder, James Dean, told us: “Through hybrid working, working a 4-day week, and having flexible hours, amongst other initiatives, we see our people naturally adapting the way they work to suit how they can best create value every day.”7. Thryve TalentAs one of the fastest-growing global recruitment companies, we’d expect Thryve to be ahead of the game for flexible working.Employees at Thryve work 8 hours each day with no reduction in pay and no increase in the hours worked on those days. Despite working directly with clients, Thryve states that it has consulted with numerous four-day week experts to work out the best operational approach.Clearly, it’s working. The company is currently hiring for new roles, and it’s been certified Gold by 4 Day Week, a campaign group for flexible working. What is the four-day work week?Exactly what it says on the tin: a four-day workweek is a system of working where employees work full-time over four days, rather than the usual five.While still far from commonplace, the idea has gained traction this year after early adopters reported a huge number of benefits. Last month, Startups surveyed 520 employees about a four-day week. We found:78% of employees want a four-day work weekThose in favour of a four-day working week want a better work-life balance (61%) and more time for personal interests and hobbies (40%)52% of employees would actively seek future employment from a business offering a four-day working weekGenerationally, a four-day week is most attractive to Gen Z employees, with 58% reporting they would actively seek new employment for the perkHow does a four-day week work?Lots of managers think they already know what a four-day work week looks like. Yet there are plenty who get it wrong, by confusing the reduced hours blueprint for compressed hours.For example, numerous large employers including Metro Bank and Sainsbury’s have introduced what they describe as a four-day week to employees. However, their staff must choose to work longer shifts to make up for their ‘lost’ fifth day. Some even specify that the benefit must come with a pay cut.This misunderstanding is quickly becoming an urban myth. Our own survey found that 53% of employees are concerned about a potential reduction in pay, despite the concept of a four-day work week specifying no lost wages.That’s why our list above only includes firms which propose a permanent 35 hour (or less) four-day week. Crucially, with no loss of pay.How do I introduce a four-day week at my company?This is the exact question that today’s employers should be asking themselves. According to a recent CIPD survey, 34% of UK employees expect the four-day week to become a reality within the next ten years. That number will only grow as more companies get onboard.Testing the strategy for yourself now, and discussing its strengths and weaknesses with colleagues, will ensure you maintain a competitive recruitment edge over rivals – who are almost certainly hosting similar conversations.Certainly, we don’t recommend introducing a four-day work week without having a proper plan and strategy in place. Applications like free project management (PM) software can be used to completely manage the transition.Business leaders can use a PM system to plot out milestones and objectives, as well as monitor progress. They can then review the data to analyse the results, and make a well-informed decision on whether to progress.Experts argue that new technologies could help to ensure a smooth transition to a four-day work week. Learn more about how to use AI to make four-day working a reality. Share this post facebook twitter linkedin Tags News and Features Written by: Helena Young Lead Writer Helena is Lead Writer at Startups. As resident people and premises expert, she's an authority on topics such as business energy, office and coworking spaces, and project management software. With a background in PR and marketing, Helena also manages the Startups 100 Index and is passionate about giving early-stage startups a platform to boost their brands. From interviewing Wetherspoon's boss Tim Martin to spotting data-led working from home trends, her insight has been featured by major trade publications including the ICAEW, and news outlets like the BBC, ITV News, Daily Express, and HuffPost UK.