The 4-day workweek has long been a dream for many workers, but now a six-month pilot program in the UK has revealed that it might be a realistic policy for many companies, with significant benefits for employees.
The study, which was conducted by the University of Cambridge, Boston College and non-profit 4 Day Week Global, in partnership with the 4 Day Week Campaign, surveyed 2,900 workers across 61 companies. It found that 39% of employees reported feeling less stressed, while 71% had reduced levels of burnout at the end of the trial. Employees surveyed reported feeling less anxious, less tired and having improved sleep.
Of the 61 companies that took part in the pilot program, 56 said they would continue offering the four-day week for now. Eighteen stated that they intended to make the workweek permanently shorter. Data obtained from the participating companies revealed that the average revenue increase, taking into account the size of each company, was 1.4% during the trial period. A study found that organizations with a shorter work week experienced an average revenue increase of 35% when compared to similar periods from earlier years. The authors of the study concluded that this demonstrated healthy growth even with reduced work hours.
In addition to the financial benefits, workers reported improved work-life balance and better physical and mental health. Sixty percent of the workers stated that it was more manageable to balance work and family obligations, while 73 percent reported an increase in contentment with their lives. The findings revealed that fatigue decreased, more sleep was being gotten, and mental health was enhanced.
Dr. Dale Whelehen, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, reported that both men and women benefit from a 4-day work week, but women tend to experience a greater benefit. He noted that burnout, life and job satisfaction, mental health, and reduced commuting time are all improved. Additionally, Dr. Whelehen observed that the burden of non-work duties appears to be more evenly distributed, with more men taking on a greater share of housework and childcare.
During the trial, there was a decrease of approximately two-thirds in the amount of sick days taken, and 39 percent of the employees said they felt less stressed than at the beginning of the trial.
Lead Researcher Professor Juliet Schor of Boston College, who was involved in the trial along with Oxford and Cambridge universities, said: “Results are largely steady across workplaces of varying sizes, demonstrating this is an innovation which works for many types of organisations.
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