61 Companies Switched To A Four-day Workweek, And Here’s What Happened

A recent study conducted in the United Kingdom indicates that implementing a four-day workweek model can have positive effects on both businesses and employees, potentially boosting their overall productivity.

One year later, 89% of the 61 U.K. companies that took part in a pilot study on the four-day workweek continued to adopt this new structure.

One year after 61 UK employers agreed to participate in a four-day pilot trial, 89% of them kept the structure in place.

The study, which was released this week, discovered favorable benefits such as increased efficiency, happier staff, and decreased turnover rates.

The think tank Autonomy is working with the 4-Day Week Campaign and 4-Day Week Global on the 2022 project, which originally had a six-month trial period but has since grown to a year and, in some cases, become permanent.

Instead of the traditional five-day, 40-hour workweek model, the participating organizations committed to completing 100% of the regular workload in 80% of the time worked, reducing the workweek to 32 hours with no pay cut.

After one year, 51% of employers elected to permanently implement the four-day workweek, while 89% decided to keep the structure in place throughout the year.

According to the study, in a follow-up poll with managers and CEOs from participating organizations, 100% reported that the four-day week had a “positive” or “very positive” impact on their organization.

When researchers inquired about how the four-day schedule had altered, 82% of surveyed organizations reported favorable effects on employee well-being. According to the survey, 50% noticed favorable impacts in terms of lowering staff turnover, and 32% claimed the policy helped their recruitment significantly.

In a second follow-up study of the participating companies’ employees, the benefits of the four-day workweek were felt both inside and outside the workplace.

“Improvements in physical and mental health, work-life balance, and general life satisfaction, as well as reductions in burnout, found at the end of the original pilot, have all been maintained one year on,” the study’s authors stated.

Looking ahead, a recent poll commissioned by the U.K. 4-Day Week Campaign indicated that 58% of the public expected the four-day workweek to become the norm by 2030, according to the report.

Internationally, the report observes that the four-day workweek has emerged as a prominent demand in trade union discussions in nations such as the United States, Germany, and Italy.

Spain, Iceland, and South Africa are among the countries that have tested the four-day workweek for chosen enterprises and employees.

In November 2023, Belgium passed legislation requiring firms to provide full-time employees with the option of requesting a four-day workweek.

Massachusetts lawmakers filed a bill in April 2023 that would grant firms a tax credit if they shift at least 15 employees to four days a week without reducing their wages.

In March 2023, a California lawmaker reintroduced his 32-hour Workweek Act to Congress, which would establish a regular workweek of 32 hours.

Rep. Mark Takano stated at the time that the act would be “a significant change that will increase human happiness.” That’s a huge statement. But it was a significant event 100 years ago when we gave workers the weekend by establishing the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

Takano first submitted the measure to Congress in 2021.

While a four-day workweek has proven successful for some organizations, does the shorter model apply to all industries? Eric Loomis, a professor of labor history at the University of Rhode Island, told ABC News in June 2023 that the policy has had problems moving from white-collar to low-wage occupations.

“I can see an office getting a job done in 32 hours instead of 40 hours,” Loomis told ABC News. “If you’re a ticket taker at a theater or you’re wearing a costume at Disney World, you need to be there.”

Meanwhile, Loomis believes it is doubtful that federal legislation will establish a four-day workweek requirement. “The U.S. hasn’t passed significant pro-labor legislation that’s in any way comprehensive in almost 90 years,” he went on to say.

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