4-Day Workweek Experiment Ends With Most Companies Taking It On

Of the firms that trialed the shortened hours in Britain, 91 percent say they want to keep it after the dry run ends

The Beatles professed love, eight days a week, but a set of workers in Britain find that getting up five days to put their nose to the grindstone is too much of a slog. 

Data released Tuesday in the largest pilot of a four-day workweek, involving dozens of companies in Britain organized by advocacy group 4-Day Week Global in collaboration with research group Autonomy, Boston College and the University of Cambridge, found the majority of managers and employees were so chuffed with it that they kept their spiffing new schedules.

In fact, 15 percent of the 2,900 participating employees said that “no amount of money” would make them go back to working five days a week, according to the results.

The rules of the four-day workweek experiment were 100-80-100, as in, 100% of the employee’s pay, 80% of the time, with an expectation that  100% of the output would be maintained. The program went on for six months, from June to December 2022. The results were so overwhelmingly pro-four-day workweek that by the experiment’s end, a staggering 56 out of the 61 companies that participated in the trial said they’d continue four-day workweeks after the pilot ended.

Employees and companies both made out well. Company earnings’ “stayed broadly the same” during the six-month trial but went up 35 percent when compared with a similar span from previous years. The number of employee resignations decreased by 57 percent.

Employees reported a host of positive effects after the test period was completed: reduced burnout (71 percent), fewer problems with sleep (40 percent), less stress (39 percent), improved mental health (43 percent), and improved physical health (37 percent).

Of course, the four-day workweek has its naysayers, who argue it wouldn’t work in industries that are chronically understaffed, like health care and child care. There are also workers who don’t mind working a 40-hour workweek and even overtime, if they can earn more. However, the data show that employees didn’t use their day off to take on extra work but to socialize and spend time with their families.

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