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Work does get done in less time

September 13, 2023

New research from non-profit, 4 Day Week Global, has found that companies’ average working hours continued to fall beyond the conclusion of their six-month 4 day week pilot program. The results come from a series of four-day-workweek trials conducted in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Ireland over the past 18 months.

A year after launching their trials, employees’ average work week dropped from a baseline of 38 hours to 32.97, down almost a full hour from the six-month mark. According to the researchers, the reduction was not achieved via increased work intensity where people had to speed up and cram five days of tasks into four. Instead, they operated more efficiently and continued to improve these capabilities as the year progressed.

Workers’ experience with the 4 day week also remained highly positive, with an unchanged rating of 9/10 beyond the trial’s conclusion. Self-rated physical and mental health measures improved over 12 months, with employees also reporting increased work-life balance scores.

Jon Leland, Chief Strategy Officer at Kickstarter, a US-based non-profit who launched their 4 day week in 2021 reported: “The most profound impact was on employee retention. We’ve seen very few people choose to depart the company since the implementation of our 4 day week. This has dramatically improved our ability to meet objectives and key results every quarter. While we were lucky to hit 70% prior to our pilot, we now hit more than 90%. It’s easy to think that a company might have to sacrifice some ambition to implement a 4 day week, but we have only increased the scale of our ambition since its adoption.”

The idea of working less than the conventional 40 hours over five days a week has been kicking around for years but has found new momentum recently. Some employers and policymakers are exploring whether a four-day week can improve employee well-being and loyalty and help them compete for workers. 

“A concern we frequently hear is there’s no way the results from our six-month trials can be maintained, as the novelty eventually must wear off, but here we are a year later with benefits only continuing to grow. This is very promising for the sustainability of this model, and we look forward to tracking companies’ experiences well into the future,” Dr Dale Whelehan, CEO of 4 Day Week Global concluded.

Source: 4 Day Week Global | The Wall Street Journal