4 Day Week Global: The Results Are In

Published: Dec 09, 2022

 Salary & Benefits       
Article image

What’s so important about today? For starters, it’s Friday, which for many of us means it’s the beginning of another wonderful weekend. Or maybe it’s because 4 Day Week Global completed its six-month UK trial of the four-day work week and I’ve got the results all neatly wrapped up with a nice bow, just for you. Yes friends, remember this day well, for in the near future it may no longer be a work day—it could be part of your weekend.

I’d wager that most of our readers have been keeping up with our coverage of 4 Day Week Global’s various happenings and announcements, yes? If not, here’s a little crash course. 4 Day Week Global is a non-profit organization that has partnered up with think tank Autonomy and expert researchers at Boston College, Cambridge University, and Oxford University to collect data from a trial period of over 3,000 employees at 70 companies in the UK who participated in a four-day work week.

4 Day Week Global’s UK trial encompassed a variety of industries including retail, construction, technology, marketing, design, finance, non-profit organizations, and more. Participants received 100% of their normal salary while working 80% of the time, under the promise of maintaining their productivity. The trial began last June and lasted for six months, with the aim to study several key areas including employee stress levels, potential for burnout, job satisfaction, sleep patterns, energy use, and overall health.

Of course, a four-day work week means more time to relax, decompress, and get together with friends and family, but the benefits don’t end there. According to a recent study conducted by the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization, working longer hours can lead to health problems such as heart disease and stroke. Thus, a shorter work week is actually very good for your health! But wait, there’s more! Less time spent at work also means decreased carbon emissions, which means a four-day work week is also great for the environment.

So, how about those results? First, let’s talk business. Companies that participated in the trial were asked to provide data with regards to revenue, average and total hours worked for all employees, any new hires or resignations, and the amount of sick and personal days taken during the trial. It’s important to keep in mind that 4 Day Week Global’s data reflects only the companies that provided data on each requested metric. Of the companies that provided sufficient data, revenue increased by 8.14% during the trial period, with revenues increasing more than a percentage point per month on average.

4 Day Week Global also asked participating companies to provide data from the same six-month period the year before the trial took place. The reason this was done is so that a comparison could also be drawn that is free from seasonal variation. Of the companies that provided this data, the increase in revenue was 37.55% when compared to the same six-month period in 2021—capital! Literally.

With that increase in revenue also came new employees. Of the participating companies that provided data on the metric, the average number of employees grew 12.16% during the trial period. It’s worth noting that this trial took place in the midst of the Great Resignation, so we can see how the shorter work week is a very attractive perk for potential employees. With regards to the average sick and personal days taken per employee per month during the trial, that number went down from .56, or about a half a day, to .39. Now, this could suggest that people called out less and took less time off during the trial period; however, 4 Day Week Global has stated that due to the small numbers in the sample for this metric, it’s not possible to tell whether the information is statistically significant.

Now for employee health and well-being. Stress levels and burnout declined during the trial period, with two out of every three employees reporting lower levels of burnout, as well as decreased stress and greater job satisfaction. Participants also reported positive changes in their mental health, as well as an average of 23.7 additional minutes of exercise per week. Prevalence of sleep disorders such as insomnia also declined, which lead to less fatigue among participants.

Employees reported a better work/life balance during the trial, along with positive changes in their family life. Participants found they had more time to spend on personal maintenance and house work, and spent an average of 4.9 hours of their extra day off on leisure activities. Of the respondents, 13% said that no amount of money could make them go back to a five-day work week, while about a third stated they’d need a 26-50% increase in salary to take a job with a five-day schedule.

At the end of the six-month period, participants were asked to report on their overall satisfaction with the trial. On a scale of 0-10 (0 being bad), the average score was 9.1, with 96.9% of respondents stating that they’d like to continue with the four-day work week. Out of every participant who responded to the survey, only two said they were leaning towards not continuing; however, not one person stated for certain that they wouldn’t continue.

The positive impact of the four-day work week on companies, as well as on their employees cannot be denied. All of this could potentially lead to more companies adopting the four-day work week as a standard. 4 Day Week Global also started a North American trial that’s being conducted similarly to the previous UK trial, so you can be sure we’ll be providing updates on that as it develops. If you’d like to learn more about 4 Day Week Global or view the results in more detail, check out their website.

***