UK Trial of 4-Day Work Week Proves Promising: Companies Report Increased Revenue and Improved Employee Health
The United Kingdom has recently completed a six-month trial involving 61 companies to assess the feasibility of a four-day work week. The results of the world's largest trial of its kind appear to be promising, with 92% of companies indicating that they plan to continue with a four-day work week, and 18 of them saying it will be a permanent policy.
The trial was organized by nonprofits 4 Day Week Global and 4 Day Week UK Campaign along with researchers at the think-tank, Autonomy. The trial was conducted to determine the impact of a four-day work week on employees, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive.
For employees, the four-day work week translated to better health. Forty percent of those surveyed indicated they felt less stress concerning their job, and seventy-one percent reported a decline in burnout. The survey revealed that over 40% of staff claimed their mental health had improved, with a substantial amount of respondents revealing decreases in nervousness and negative feelings. Workers also reported feeling less fatigued and sleeping better.
Additionally, the trial found that men especially found they had more time to help their partners at home, although women still carry more than 50% of home life responsibilities.
For businesses, the results were just as encouraging. Companies involved in the trial reported an average 1.4% rise in revenue and the number of staff leaving decreased by 57%. Moreover, 15% of employees said that no amount of money would induce them to return to a five-day schedule.
Joe Ryle, director of the 4 Day Week Campaign, said: “This is a major breakthrough moment for the movement towards a four-day working week. Across a wide variety of different sectors of the economy, these incredible results show that the four-day week with no loss of pay really works. Surely the time has now come to begin rolling it out across the country.”
Other businesses that are considering a four-day work week should keep three longer-term considerations in mind. They should be aware of the potential for increased stress when staff have the same amount of work to do in fewer hours. Additionally, employers should be prepared to pay full-time salaries for four days of work and to rethink their work culture to ensure new work flexibility doesn’t compound existing inequities.
The results of the UK trial suggest that four-day work weeks could become the norm.
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