Is the 4 day work week here to stay? Here’s the results
Because Thursdays the new Friday, right?
Do you remember the 4 day work week trial that started last June? No, me neither. But since it’s conclusion in December the results of said trial have now been posted. Below is summary of the findings.
What was it?
The trial, which was the world’s largest to date, involved 61 companies and around 2,900 workers, and took place from June to December 2022. Companies from diverse sectors and sizes participated, each designing a policy tailored to its particular industry, organizational challenges, departmental structures, and work culture. While the policies varied, they all shared the same key features: pay was maintained at 100%, and employees had a ‘meaningful’ reduction in work time.
The personal benefits
The results of the trial were overwhelmingly positive. Of the 61 companies that participated, 56 are continuing with the four-day week (92%), with 18 confirming the policy is a permanent change. The benefits for employees were particularly striking, with significant improvements in well-being and work-life balance. ‘Before and after’ data shows that 39% of employees were less stressed, and 71% had reduced levels of burnout at the end of the trial. Likewise, levels of anxiety, fatigue, and sleep issues decreased, while mental and physical health both improved.
Measures of work-life balance also improved across the trial period. Employees found it easier to balance their work with both family and social commitments, and were more satisfied with their household finances, relationships, and how their time was being managed. Furthermore, 60% of employees found an increased ability to combine paid work with care responsibilities, and 62% reported it easier to combine work with social life.
The business end
However, the benefits of a four-day workweek are not just limited to employee well-being. The trial also showed positive effects on key business metrics. Companies’ revenue, for instance, stayed broadly the same over the trial period, rising by 1.4% on average, weighted by company size, across respondent organizations. When compared to a similar period from previous years, organizations reported revenue increases of 35% on average, indicating healthy growth during this period of working time reduction. Additionally, the number of staff leaving participating companies decreased significantly, dropping by 57% over the trial period.
The positive effects of a four-day workweek were so significant that 15% of employees said that no amount of money would induce them to accept a five-day schedule over the four-day week to which they were now accustomed. This finding underscores the importance of work-life balance and the impact it can have on job satisfaction and retention.