Dozens of companies in the United Kingdom took part in the world’s largest trial of the four-day workweek — and a majority of supervisors and employees liked it so much they’ve decided to keep the arrangement. In fact, 15 percent of the employees who participated said “no amount of money” would convince them to go back to working five days a week.
Nearly 3,000 employees took part in the pilot, which was organized by the advocacy group, 4 Day Week Global, in collaboration with the research group, Autonomy, and researchers at Boston College and the University of Cambridge.
Companies that participated could adopt different methods to “meaningfully” shorten their employees’ workweeks — from giving them one day a week off to reducing their working days in a year to average out to 32 hours per week — but had to ensure the employees still received 100 percent of their pay.
At the end of the experiment, employees reported a range of benefits related to their sleep, stress levels, personal lives, and mental health, according to results published Tuesday. Companies’ revenue “stayed broadly the same” during the six-month trial but rose 35 percent on average when compared with a similar period from previous years. Resignations decreased.
The findings of the pilot scheme will be presented to MPs on Tuesday as campaigners urge lawmakers to give every British worker a 32-hour working week.
The trial saw 61 companies across a variety of sectors in the UK commit to reducing their working hours for all staff by 20 percent, for six months from June last year.
At least 56 out of the 61 firms that took part said they plan to continue with the four-day working week, while 18 firms confirmed the policy has become a permanent change.
Just three companies said they have paused the four-day working week in their organization for the time being.
Joe Ryle, director of the 4 Day Week Campaign, said the trial is a “major breakthrough moment” for the campaign 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”, Mr. Ryle said. “Surely the time has now come to begin rolling it out across the country.”
Dr. David Frayne, a research associate at the University of Cambridge, said: “We feel really encouraged by the results, which showed the many ways companies were turning the four-day week from a dream into realistic policy, with multiple benefits.”
The researchers insisted the results show the four-day week is “ready to take the next step from experimentation to implementation”.
“The benefits of a shorter working week for no reduction in pay are now both well-known and well-evidenced: employees are happier and healthier, and the organizations they work for are often more productive, more efficient, and retain their staff more readily”, it concluded.