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Sociology Research


The Working Time Reduction Research Network brings together researchers from universities and research institutes with a core interest in working time reduction.

  • We are interested in collective working time reduction, whether at the level of employers, the national level, or through collective bargaining by trade unions. We are not interested in individual employees working shorter hours than others (i.e. part-time work).
  • We are interested in initiatives that lead to more permanent reductions in working hours (not temporary reductions in hours to cope with business cycles).
  • We are interested in reductions that might be large, such as four-day week trials, or more modest, incremental changes.
  • We are interested in the multiple effects of these Working Time Reductions on, for instance, employee wellbeing, company performance, the environment, health systems, families, the economy, leisure providers, transport systems, etc.
  • We welcome the contributions of multiple disciplines in such research, for instance Sociology, Economics, Psychology, Public Health, Human Geography, Economic History, Labour Law, Social Anthropology etc.
  • We welcome contributions using a variety of research methods including quasi-experimental designs, randomised controlled trials, in-depth interviews, time series, etc.
  • We are particularly focussed on processes to bring about working time reduction that do not involve the reduction of pay.

Our Mission

WTR-RN is dedicated to driving forward cutting-edge research centred on the permanent reduction of working time, with a particular emphasis on achieving collective reductions in overall work time. Our mission is to pave the way for a societal transformation that promotes wellbeing and a better work-life balance for employees.


To create the networking opportunities to bring together people and studies to enhance collaboration and the sharing of ideas.
To promote /share funding opportunities, collaborative grants and facilitation of building research teams.
Mentoring to students as a centre of excellence and research.
To play a part in setting the WTR research agenda.

Our Values

In our research we aspire to be

  • Collaborative
  • Inclusive
  • Inquisitive
  • Supportive
  • Impactful
  • Transformative
  • Relevant


In the setting up of the organisation an international steering committee of eight researchers is chaired by Professor Brendan Burchell.  Once the network is up and running a new form of governance will be established. For more information about WTR-RN governance, please see the website.



The activities of the WTR-RN are expected to grow organically, and may include occasional seminars, sessions at conferences, opportunities to collaborate in research and publishing, events aimed at early career researchers, publishing working papers, etc. For more information about events and activities please see the WTR-RN website.


Convenor and contact

The convenor is Professor Brendan Burchell, (

Membership is open to any researcher with an interest in working time reduction (including the four day workweek).  Membership fees will be optional in the first year, with no expectation that postgraduate students or members from low-income countries will be expected to contribute.

In due course other membership categories may be created, for instance for consultancy companies specialising in preparing companies to transition to a four day week or companies that have already transitioned to reduced hours working. For more information about becoming a member, please see the WTR-RN website.

For more details, see