Companies trialling the four-day working week have reported that productivity has increased, along with employee wellbeing.

The initiative, tried by 33 companies with nearly 1,000 employees, saw staff working 80 per cent of their time with no loss of pay, while pledging to put in 100 per cent of their usual effort over the shorter week.

Fewer employees took time off or resigned, and firms were surprised to find earnings were up, too.

Now, 100 companies have signed up to a permanent four-day week system, with early adopters finding it has aided recruitment and retention.

Meanwhile, other businesses are offering a reduction to four days in place of a pay rise, as inflation soars