A majority of companies in the United Kingdom that participated in a trial of a four-day workweek plan have decided to keep the arrangement, citing increased productivity and business performance. The trial included 61 companies and approximately 2,900 workers from June to December 2022. Restaurants, recruitment firms, charities, and digital marketing companies were among those who took part.
Employees who participated in the trial still received 100 percent of their pay for 80 percent of their time, and they promised to commit to delivering 100 percent of their output. According to the report from the study’s organizers, 92 percent of organizations have decided to continue with a four-day week. The remaining five companies have either decided to extend their trials or are pausing for the moment.
The report also found that business performance and productivity both scored an average of 7.5/10, while revenues rose 35 percent compared to a similar period in previous years. Additionally, the number of staff leaving fell by 57 percent over the trial period.
Employees reported benefits as well, such as an increase in their ability at work, reduced burnout, and feeling less stressed. Improvements in mental health, a reduction in negative emotions, fatigue, and sleep difficulties, and improvements in physical health were also seen. Overall, 90 percent of employees said they want to stick with a four-day week, and 15 percent stated that “no amount of money” would make them accept a five-day schedule at their next job.
The findings from the UK trial build on the results of an earlier pilot by 4 Day Week Global published in November. That trial, which included more than 30 companies and almost 1,000 employees in Australia, Ireland, and the United States, also found similar results.
Currently, 91 companies and approximately 3,500 workers have participated in the four-day workweek pilot over the last 12 months. Additional trials are taking place in Europe, South Africa, Brazil, and North America.
Opponents of the four-day workweek argue that it leads to a generally happier workforce, increased productivity, and can also help reduce childcare costs. They note that the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent move to work from home has changed the way people now think about their working lives, prompting more and more workers to seek out a better work/life balance.
However, other business experts note that the four-day workweek is not a one-size-fits-all concept. The managing director of Tyler Grange, an environmental consulting firm based in the United Kingdom, told NPR that while he has yet to hear anyone give a reason as to why the five-day workweek is still in place, the latest results from the trial show that “working in a way that is most applicable to your organization to achieve the sweet spot of productivity, the best productivity for the time,” is what companies should be aiming for.