Four-day work week is good for business, finds report into trial in workplaces

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The verdict is in: A four-day work week is good for business.

After six months, most of the 33 companies and 903 workers trialling the schedule, with no reduction in pay, are unlikely ever to go back to a standard working week, according to the organisers of the global pilot program.

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None of the 27 participating companies who responded to a survey by 4 Day Week Global said they were leaning towards or planning on returning to their former five-day routine.

About 97 per cent of the 495 employees who responded said they wanted to continue with a four-day week.

The majority of companies taking part in the trial were based in the United States and Ireland. Those responding to the survey rated their overall experience 9 out of 10, based on productivity and performance.

Workers were equally positive about the trial, reporting lower levels of stress, fatigue, insomnia and burnout, and improvements in physical and mental health.

A report into trials of the four-day work week in workplaces worldwide has found the concept has benefits. Credit: Getty Images

The trial was also good for company earnings.

Average revenue rose 38 per cent when compared to the same period last year, according to the survey.

4 Day Week Global, a nonprofit organisation, collaborated with researchers at Boston College, University College Dublin and Cambridge University for the trial. It was split into two cohorts, beginning in February and April this year.

Juliet Schor, professor of sociology at Boston College and the trial’s lead researcher, said that employees did not report an increase in the intensity of their work.

“This suggests that the work reorganisation strategy succeeded and performance was not achieved via [speeding up], which is neither sustainable nor desirable,” she said.

‘Win-win’

Jon Leland, chief strategy officer for Kickstarter, a crowdfunding site participating in the trial, described the schedule as a “true win-win.”

“The 4-day week has been transformative for our business and our people. Staff are more focused, more engaged and more dedicated, helping us hit our goals better than before,” he said.

A separate six-month trial in the United Kingdom, also run by 4 Day Week Global, and which included 70 companies and 3,300 workers, wrapped up this month. The results from that trial – the world’s biggest to date – are due in February.

Earlier this year, workers in the UK trial described to CNN Business how the extra day off had changed their lives for the better, giving them more time to run errands, take up hobbies, and simply recharge.

Calls to shorten the working week have gathered steam in recent years.

As millions of employees switched to remote work during the pandemic – cutting onerous commuting time and costs – those calls have only grown louder.

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