Four-day working week: UK leading the way
More and more companies are toying with the idea of establishing a four-day week for their employees.
An experiment of the week four-day working week in the UK, touted as the biggest in the world, reveals that an overwhelming majority of the 61 companies that took part in the trial for six months will continue to apply the working time reduction .
Among the benefits found: Most employees were less stressed, less burnt out, and had a better work-life balance.
According to results released this week, companies report that their turnover remained stable between June and December 2022 and even increased compared to the same six months of the previous year.
We're really encouraged by the results, which show the many ways companies have turned the dreamy four-day week into a workable policy, with multiple benefits, said David Frayne, a research associate at the x27;University of Cambridge who helped lead the team responsible for conducting interviews with employees who participated in the trial. We think there's a lot here that should motivate other companies and industries to give it a try.
The university team worked with several researchers from other agencies to see how companies in industries ranging from marketing to finance to nonprofits profit and their 2900 employees, would react to a reduction in working hours with maintenance of wages.
As expected, employees reported benefits: 71% said they were less burnt out, 39% less stressed, and 48% more satisfied with their work than ;before the trial.
Among workers, 60% said it was easier to balance work and home responsibilities, while 73% said reported greater satisfaction with their lives. According to the study results, fatigue decreased, people slept more and their mental health improved.
For companies that have implemented shorter working hours − whether it is one less working day per week or longer hours during certain parts of the #x27; year and shorter the rest of the time to arrive at an average week of 32 hours − turnover did not decline, according to the results.
Revenue increased by 1.4% during the trial for 23 companies that provided adequate data − weighted by company size − while 24 other companies saw their revenue increase by more than 34% compared to the same half of the previous year.
The likelihood of employees quitting decreased by 57 % compared to the same period of the previous year, as well as the number of sick days, which decreased by 65% compared to the previous year.
Among companies, 92% said they would continue to implement the four-day week, and 30% said it was a permanent change.
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“Not only do these results show that the UK pilot program was a resounding success, but it is encouraging to see that they reflect largely the results of our previous trials in Ireland and the US, which further strengthens the case for the four-day week.
—Charlotte Lockhart, Managing Director of 4 Day Week Global
There are, of course, sectors that cannot institute shorter hours because they need 24-hour workers, like hospitals and emergency workers. In recent months, these workers and many others have been on strike in the UK to demand better working conditions and a wage commensurate with the high cost of living.