According to one of the largest experiments of its sort done in the UK, a four-day work week is more productive for the majority of employees and businesses than the standard five days.
The six-month trial, which involved more than 60 British businesses, allowed over 3,000 workers to work one fewer day per week while still receiving the same pay.
It was organized by the non-profit 4 Day Week Worldwide in collaboration with the US universities Boston College, Cambridge University, and Autonomy between June of last year and December.
It has been referred to as the largest four-day workweek trial ever conducted.
According to the study’s findings, more than nine out of 10 businesses either now use or intend to use the shorter workweek.
Even four percent won’t make a difference.
Lead researcher and professor at Boston College Juliet Schor remarked, “Results are mostly consistent across workplaces of varying sizes, suggesting this is an invention which works for many types of organizations.”
The shorter workweeks had no negative effects on productivity; in fact, during the trial period, corporate revenue increased by an average of 1.4 percent.
When compared to comparable times in previous years, revenue increased by an average of 35%.
The study also discovered that during the trial, employment went up, absenteeism went down, and staff departures went down significantly.
Researchers also came to the conclusion that staff health and wellbeing had increased generally.
Physical and mental health, exercise time, and overall life and job satisfaction all showed “significant” improvements.
According to the statement, rates of stress, burnout, and exhaustion all decreased, while issues with sleep decreased.
According to Professor Brendan Burchell of Cambridge University, “in terms of personnel, their mental health improved, they got better sleep, and they felt less burned out.”
Yet, the businesses also stated that if there were any changes to their profits or performance, they were more likely to move up than down.
“And we had a lot of very happy people — they really appreciated it; they found having three-day weekends rather than two-day weekends to be such a treat.”
One of the 18 businesses that participated, the UK environmental consultant Tyler Grange, permanently adopted the four-day workweek.
Nathan Jenkinson, client director at Tyler Grange, told AFP, “My experience has only been very, really great — you can see it in individuals day to day at work, that they’re more energized at work.
After having taken three days off, workers “come into work on a Monday at the beginning of the week feeling considerably more upbeat about work and with a lot more energy.”
Despite the shorter hours, Tyler Grange reported a modest increase in turnover.
Studies on the four-day workweek have been more popular in recent years as firms look into post-pandemic flexibility, including the idea of a hybrid workplace that allows for more working from home.
In Australia and New Zealand as well as in Europe, the United States, and Canada, experiments with the shorter week have been conducted.
The spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak struck a cautious tone when asked if the UK government may make the trial into national policy, responding that there were “no plans for that.”