Arlington runs four-day week trial

One enterprising KBB business in Leeds has started its own trial of the four-day working week.

Family-run Arlington Group is the UK importing agent for Kuhlmann, Beeck and Mobilturi.

The 4 Day Week Global trial run by 4 Day Week Global that started on Monday will see thousands workers work a 32-hour, four-day week with no loss of pay. Arlington owner Barry Abrahams, however, has asked his design and accounts teams to work a four-day week while still working the same total number of hours they would have worked in five days.

Arlington told kbbreview that its four-day-week trial involves its accounts team and the designers that support its retail customers and design the showrooms.

“Half of them work Monday to Thursday and half work Tuesday to Friday,” he said. “I actually started this independently of anybody else after my Mercedes dealership a few years ago put all of their staff on to a three-day week, although they stopped it because people couldn’t work the hours. Here we were normally 8.30am to 5.30pm with an hour for lunch, and now they are doing 7.30am to 6pm with a half-hour for lunch. It means they miss the traffic as they are coming in earlier and going home later and they get a free day off. And it is working very well.”

He added: “They have the option to come off the scheme at any time and go back to working five days. I have spoken to them all and they say they love it.”

But is the scheme workable in a retail environment? Abrahams believes it is. He said: “Yes. If you have got a certain number of staff. There is no independent kitchen studio I know of that requires two people there full time 100% of the time. So yes, I think it is very workable.”

Commenting on the national four-day-week trial run by 4 Day Week Global, which expects workers to maintain 100% of their productivity in 80% of the normal working hours, Abrahams said: “If you can do 100% of your workload in 80% of the time, then you are swinging the lead now. It’s impossible to do 100% in 80% of the time. And if you say you can concentrate harder to achieve it, then I’m sorry, you should be doing that anyway or else you are stealing from your employer.”

A post from Abrahams on LinkedIn was prompted by a one from Eddie Wighton, founder of InverTay Homes and one of Arlington’s customers, who had severe misgivings about the four-day week trial. Wighton said: “A four-day working week could be catastrophic for UK housing output. I believe that there are a large number of companies who could easily accommodate this, but in construction this will certainly not work. One hundred per cent pay for 80% attendance will put most construction companies into bankruptcy.

“To claim they could work 80% but still achieve 100% output would be insulting, as this implies our workers currently just plod along. Construction workers generally work hard… very hard!

“In house building, costs will have to rise significantly on top of the current situation, which has pushed the sector to breaking point. We still fail to build enough homes for our UK population and require millions of new homes asap. Will this final nail in the coffin be the death of ‘affordable housing’?”

The 4 Day Week Global trial, run in partnership with think tank Autonomy, the 4 Day Week UK Campaign, Oxford and Cambridge universities and Boston College, involves more than 3,000 workers at 70 firms nationwide started a trial of the concept and will run for six months

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