In June 2022, the non-profit 4 Day Week Global in the United Kingdom (UK) started a four-day workweek trial. Now half-way through the six-month trial period, they have some interesting survey results to share from companies participating in the experiment.
Seventy companies encompassing businesses ranging in size from local shops to enterprise organizations and across nearly every industry sector, started the trial in June. Of the 41 companies responding to the latest survey, 88% said that the new schedule was working well for their company. Eighty-six percent said they would most likely stay with the 4-day schedule after the trial ends.
One concern at the onset of the experiment was worker productivity. Would (or could) workers produce during a four-day workweek at about the same rate as they did in five days? What companies found in most cases at this stage of the trial was that productivity has not been an issue.
The CEO of Trio Media reported that financially their company is performing 44% better than under the old five-day schedule. And they are seeing an increase in wellness and a drop in absences since the trial started. Forty-six percent of the companies responded that their company’s productivity stayed the same; 34% reported it slightly improved and 15% reported it had significantly improved.
And workers are still receiving the same pay they did when they were working five-days per week. Some of the benefits companies in the trial are seeing with an extra day off:
- Employee wellness has increased
- Employees are happier with more quality time to spend with family and friends
- An extra day per week off gives them time to address personal issues, which were impacting their productivity while at work.
Perpetual Guardian’s founder Andrew Barnes said of the 4-day trial, “When we started everybody’s initial reaction was ‘how am I ever going do my work in four days rather than five’. So the fact that the trial indicates that not only could they do their work in four days, but they could do it better in four days, is something I find extraordinarily surprising.” What Perpetual Guardian also found was that their employee work-life balance improved from 54% in 2017 to 78% halfway through the 4-day work week trial.
Transitioning to the Four-Day Workweek
One of the anticipated challenges of dropping a day off of the workweek was the difficulty of implementing the process. However, that did not seem to be the case. When asked on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the most challenging and 5 the least, 29% chose a 5; 49% chose 4; 20% selected a 3. In other words, most companies found the transition process moderate to smooth. None reported a 1 or 2.
Could the Four-Day Workweek Work for Your Company?
With many employers looking to bring their remote workers back to the workplace, using the four-day workweek model could be an incentive to help overcome the challenges voiced by the workers forced in returning to the workplace. And it could also help overcome burnout – one of the effects of the Great Resignation on the workers left at a company to pick up the pieces. It could also help address and curb the new phenomenon “quiet quitting where workers are just producing enough to keep their jobs … also a result of trying to do more with fewer employees.
The 4-day workweek pilot program is also moving beyond the U.K., with companies in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and even here in the U.S. trying the shortened workweek model.
This shift from the five-day workweek to four is the biggest shift in work culture since moving from the six-day workweek to five over one hundred years ago. The question to ask yourself: “Is it time for my company to make the shift and try the four-day model?”