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Brits embark on biggest global experiment ever

In this warehouse in Tottenham, north London, beer is brewed, 30,000 liters per month. A few employees load drums in the middle of huge stainless steel tanks, to the sound of reggae in the speakers.

>> 4-day week: 64% of French employees are ready to take the plunge

Claire Doherty is one of nine Pressure Drop employees. She is responsible for sales and for a little over two weeks she has been experimenting with the four-day week. Her observation for the time being: good for her, good for the company even if, so far, her extra day of rest has mainly served her for shopping, going to see her bank or making a medical appointment. “It all sounds very boring”she agrees.

“I would like to tell you that I am writing a novel or something like that. But that just means that when I come back to work, my mind is a little clearer. Because this free time allows me to take care of all that.”

Claire Doherty, Sales Manager at Pressure Drop

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Simon White founded Pressure Drop ten years ago. This boss in Bermuda explains that he does not intend to conquer the world. He offered this experience to his employees with the excitement of being a pioneer, but within a clear framework. He won’t hire anyone and the balance sheet will be drawn in six months. “Everything is possible. We told the employees, it’s only a test. It will be a success if there is no negative impact. It must work for the shareholders as much as for the employees”he insists.

The experience of this London brewery, like the whole British project, is driven by an organization called 4 Day Week, a New Zealand idea developed by business leaders and academics to spread it around the world. Training is offered to interested bosses and support in the early stages as well. Charlotte Lockhart is one such leader. “More free time also helps the rest of society, she defends. Local associations and sports clubs struggle to find people involved because no one seems to have the time.”

The British experiment is the largest ever attempted in the world. It is carried out in sectors as different as finance, fish and chips or health. Academics from Cambridge, Oxford and Boston will follow her in detail during the six-month test. They will assess the consequences on the productivity of the 70 companies and the quality of life of the 3,300 people involved in this test.

The British are experimenting with the 4-day week: report by Richard Place

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