NEARLY nine out of ten companies taking part in the biggest ever study of the four-day working week in the UK say they would be likely to extend the scheme, a survey has found.

More than 70 organisations, including from Scotland, have signed up for six months to test the idea of giving employees an extra paid day off every week.

A survey carried out halfway through the trial has found 88% of participating companies say it is working “well” for their business at this stage and 86% are likely to consider retaining the policy after the end of the trial period.

READ MORE: Four-day week: Biggest ever trial begins in the UK

Just under half – 46% - said productivity has remained around the same, while over a third reported it had “improved slightly”.

However 15% of the organisations who took part in the survey noted “significant” improvements in productivity.

The trial is being run by 4 Day Week Global in partnership with think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week Campaign, and researchers at Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University.

More than 3300 employees are getting an additional paid day off weekly, with participating companies including Scotland’s International Development Alliance in Edinburgh and Loud Mouth Media in Glasgow.

All those taking part work one day less a week, whilst receiving their usual level of pay. The trial hopes to determine the impact of these reduced hours on factors such as productivity, worker well-being, the environment and gender equality.

Kyle Lewis, co-director of Autonomy, said: "The positive feedback at the mid-point of the trial is incredibly encouraging. The ongoing research from the pilot will not only communicate the journey that organisations involved have been on over the six-month period, it will also provide rich learnings that can support other organisations and sectors considering switching to a four-day week in the future".

Joe O’Connor, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, said: “The organisations in the United Kingdom pilot are contributing real-time data and knowledge that are worth their weight in gold. Essentially, they are laying the foundation for the future of work by putting a four-day week into practice, across every size of business and nearly every sector.

READ MORE: Four-day weeks: How do they work and how can Scotland implement them?

“We are learning that for many it is a fairly smooth transition and for some there are some understandable hurdles – especially among those which have comparatively fixed or inflexible practices, systems, or cultures which date back well into the last century.”

Advocates of a four-day week say introducing a change in working pattern will deliver as much, if not more, productivity whilst also improving the work-life balance of workers.

There has been increased international interest in the idea as a result of the covid pandemic and the upheaval it caused in traditional work habits.

Councillors in Glasgow recently backed a study to look at how the four-day week could be rolled out for workers.