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I'll Pass on the Money,  I Like the 4 Day Workweek

I'll Pass on the Money, I Like the 4 Day Workweek

Feb. 22, 2023
In the largest four-day workweek study, one in six employees said no amount of money would convince them to return to five days a week.

The results were announced on Feb. 21, 2023, and the verdict is that workers like a four-day workweek. 

The world's largest trial of the four-day workweek, conducted in the UK,  involved 61 organizations and  2,900 workers who voluntarily adopted truncated work weeks from June to December 2022

The pilot program – conducted in the UK by non-profit 4 Day Week Global, the UK’s 4 Day Week Campaign and think-tank Autonomy – involved no loss of pay for workers despite the shorter work week. 

The results showed an overall positive experience with business productivity and business performance each scoring 8.5/10.

Perhaps more surprising was the increase in revenue by 35% over the trial periods when compared to similar periods from the previous year and rose by 1.4% during the trial. 

Employee absenteeism dropped from 2 days a month to 0.7, while turnover fell by more than half, although the small sample and broader labor market dynamics make it difficult to isolate the trial effect. Companies rated the overall experience as 8.3 out of 10.

EHS professionals will be glad to hear that the health and well-being of employees also improved. The report showed significant increases observed in both physical health as demonstrated by time spent exercising and mental health, as rates of stress, burnout ( 71% reported a decrease), and fatigue all fell, while problems with sleep declined. Respondents reported a better work/life experience (60%).

The study discovered that not only did any of the participants want to return to a regular workweek, but 15%  said that no amount of extra money could tempt them to go back.  

Given that level of support, almost every organization said they will stick to a 4-day week post-trial, with 91% definitely continuing or planning to continue, and a further 4% leaning towards continuing. Only 4% of participants are definitely not continuing.

One interesting result was the difference in results between men and women. “While both men and women benefit from a 4-day week, women’s experience is generally better, said behavioral scientist and CEO of 4 Day Week Global, Dr. Dale Whelehan, in a statement. "This is the case for burnout, life and job satisfaction, mental health and reduced commuting time. Encouragingly, the burden of non-work duties appears to be balancing out, with more men taking on a greater share of housework and childcare,” he said.

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