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The results of the great UK 4-day workweek pilot: as good as it gets

February 27, 2023

The vast majority of UK companies that took part in a four-day workweek trial in the past year now states: they will continue with it after recording sharp falls in employee turnover and absenteeism while maintaining productivity during the six-month study.

In one of the largest trials of a four-day week to date, 61 British companies, from banks to fast-food restaurants and marketing agencies, gave their 2,900 employees one paid day off per week to see if they could do the same while working less but more efficiently. 

The results

More than 90% said they would continue testing the shorter week, while 18% planned to make it permanent, according to a new report from the study’s authors. The idea of working less than the conventional 40 hours five days a week has been discussed for decades. The concept has recently gained momentum as employers and employees look for new and better ways to work.

On a scale of 0 (very negative) to 10 (very positive), employers scored their productivity and performance over the six months on average at 7.5. A survey conducted halfway through the test found that 46% of companies said their business productivity remained about the same, while 34% reported a slight improvement and 15% a significant improvement.

Meanwhile, 39% of employees said they were less stressed than before the pilot program began; about half reported no change. Almost half noted improvement in mental health and 37% also noted progress in physical health.

“Taken as a whole, results from the UK trial, therefore, make clear that the four-day week is ready to take the next step from experimentation to implementation. Those looking to move to shorter working hours now have access to a growing base of organizations already ‘ironing out’ the four-day week in practice, by adapting different models and structures to the demands of their own size and sector, and building up a toolkit of tips and tactics to be drawn upon by others. 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. To this, the UK trial adds a wealth of ‘on-the-ground’ knowledge for the next wave of adopters to make the four-day week a reality.”, the report concludes.

Source: Autonomy | Positive News