Productive and successful: four-day working week scores highly

The world’s largest pilot for the four-day working week has been declared a success, with companies showing no drop in productivity during the switch to a 20 per cent decrease in working hours

Findings from what is believed to be the world’s largest study of the four-day working week have been revealed. Companies reported reduced rates of stress and illness as well as no knock-on negative impact on revenue or productivity, giving campaigners for the introduction of a four-day working week a major boost.

The trial, which was a collaboration between the University of Cambridge, Boston College and several other research organisations, took place in 2022. Over six months, all staff in 61 participating UK companies took a 20 per cent decrease in hours with no corresponding fall in wages.

The impact on wellbeing was plain to see, with 71 per cent of staff reporting less burnout and 39 per cent claiming to be less stressed and more relaxed as a result of the trial. There were also tangible shifts, with a 65 per cent decrease in sick days and a 57 per cent drop in the number of staff leaving their organisation compared to the previous year.

And there was no downside, with on average companies reporting a small increase in revenue. Almost all companies that participated were keen to continue the practice within the organisation, reflecting a shift in attitudes towards the idea of working less being more efficient.

Across spectrum of work

The companies participating also ranged from financial institutions to a fish and chip shop, reflecting the effectiveness of the practice across the spectrum of working environments.

While there were some different approaches to reduced hours and some bumps along the way that companies needed to tackle, the overwhelming positivity towards the study and the keenness that companies showed to continue the practice reflects a desire for change to the current working system and an enthusiasm for wellbeing initiatives.

Joe Ryle, director of the 4-Day Week Campaign, describes, the results are a ‘major breakthrough moment’. Stating that ‘Across a wide variety of different sectors of the economy, these incredible results show that the four-day week actually works.’

Read more about the impact of the four-day week pilot study in the Innovation Zone here.

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