20 November 2023

At a glance:

How the latest AI technology can lead to a nation of shorter hours, without reductions in livelihoods or productivity.


This paper offers an equitable route for the deployment of AI in the pursuit of greater productivity. It builds upon leading analyses of the potential impacts of new AI technologies (specifically Large Language Models). It analyzes the potential eligibility for a four-day work week across local authorities in Great Britain, driven by AI-enhanced productivity gains over the next decade.


Two scenarios are detailed and mapped: The first, where the productivity gains of AI are captured so as to deliver 20% reductions in working hours, whilst keeping pay the same for workers. The second considers how many workers could be augmented by AI to the extent that their productivity improves by at least 10%, thereby enabling a reduction of 10% of the working weekly working schedule, whilst keeping pay the same.


The paper finds that, by 2033:


  • A four-day week (32-hours as full-time equivalent) could be achieved within a decade for 8.8 million workers (28% of the workforce in Great Britain) 


  • 88% of the labour market in Great Britain (27.9 million workers) could have working hours reduced by at least 10%, should Large Language Models be introduced into workplaces and used as the basis for increased free time.


  • Local authorities with the highest proportion of workers that could work four-day weeks within the next decade include:


    • City of London
    • Wokingham
    • Elmbridge
    • Wandsworth
    • St Albans
    • Westminster


  • In London, 89% of the workforce could have at least a 10% reduction in working hours, due to AI-led productivity gains.
    • 33% of the labour force in the capitol could have a 20% reduction in work time, due to AI-led productivity gains of 20%.
    • This amounts to 1.5 million workers by 2033.


  • The report thus recommends that public and private sector employers take advantage of this significant opportunity, to become world leaders in the take up of workplace AI as well as improve the lives of well over nearly thirty million people.


Luiz Garcia

Lukas Kikuchi

Will Stronge

Will Stronge, Director of Research at Autonomy, said:


“Our research offers a fresh perspective in debates around how AI can be utilized for good.


“A shorter working week is the most tangible way of ensuring that AI delivers benefits to workers as well as companies.


“If AI is to be implemented fairly across the economy, it should usher in a new era of four-day working weeks for all.”