Published: Aug 02, 2023
A little over a year ago, we began our coverage of 4 Day Week Global and its efforts to introduce a more sustainable and productive four-day work week paradigm to the world. We checked in with 4 Day Week Global last March to provide some nice updates including the announcements of South African and Australian four-day work week trials, and today we’ve got even more great news for you.
For those who haven’t been following our coverage, 4 Day Week Global is a non-profit organization founded by Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart that aims to provide a platform for companies and individuals who are in support of the four-day work week paradigm. 4 Day Week Global has joined forces with think tank Autonomy and researchers at Boston College, Cambridge University, Oxford University, and other prestigious academic institutions worldwide to collect data from six-month trials of companies that are participating in a four-day work week.
Each trial is comprised of many industries, typically including education, retail, banking, financial services, construction, food and beverage hospitality, design, information technology, marketing, consulting, fitness, and non-profit organizations, among others. Participants receive 100% of their standard pay while working 80% of the time under the promise of maintaining their productivity, while experts collect data in several key areas including stress levels, burnout potential, job satisfaction, sleep patterns, energy use, and overall health.
There are many benefits to a four-day work week. For starters, employees will enjoy a better work/life balance, with more time to relax, decompress, and be with friends and family. This inevitably leads to better physical and emotional health, which also has a positive impact in the workplace. Companies will experience increased productivity, employee engagement and retention, and job satisfaction among workers. In addition to this, the four-day work week paradigm contributes to reduced carbon emissions, so it’s great for the environment.
So, how about those updates? 4 Day Week Global recently announced that companies that have participated in a four-day work week trial continued to decrease their working hours even after their trial ended. According to the new research, the average work week of employees has gone from 38 hours to 33 hours within a year from their six-month trial’s start date. In addition to this, employees reported improved physical and mental health over a 12-month period, and maintained an average overall rating of 9/10 of their experience, long after the conclusion of their trial.
Juliet Schor, lead researcher and professor at Boston College commented on the decrease in working hours, stating that “It’s important to note this continued reduction in hours was not achieved via increased work intensity…instead, [participants] operated more efficiently and continued to improve [their] capabilities as the year progressed.” The key takeaway here is that despite less hours in the office or on the job site, employees maintained their productivity and even improved certain processes.
Not too long ago we mentioned that 4 Day Week Global was embarking on its North American trial, which included 60 companies and more than 4,000 employees across the U.S. and Canada. Similar to previous trials, the North American trial encompassed a wide variety of key industries. In a study performed at the conclusion of the North American trial, 41 U.S. and Canadian companies indicated that they were not planning to return to a five-day work week. Companies that participated in the study also reported increased employee job satisfaction, productivity, and performance. Additionally, companies reported an average 15% increase in revenue, as well as a better ability to attract employees.
Among the companies that took part in the study there was an average rating of 8.7/10 with regards to overall satisfaction with the trial. When it comes to employees who participated, 95% stated that they wanted to continue with the four-day work week paradigm after the trial, 69% reported reduced burnout, and 42% revealed that they were more environmentally friendly during the trial, often opting to purchase eco-friendly items and ride a bicycle rather than drive a motor vehicle.
Jenise Uehara, CEO of participating U.S. company Search Engine Journal stated that “Before our trial, dedicated employees were struggling with burnout [and] turnover was increasing. The [four-day work week] motivated us to question our status quo and implement major productivity improvements. [Since the trial], our turnover has dropped to record lows, productivity levels remain constant, and clients did not notice we had adopted a four-day work week.” She went on to say “I am thrilled we could prove a business case for supporting employees’ work/life balance.”
Tara Vanderloo, Chief Experience Officer at Canadian-based participant Sensei Labs shared similar sentiments after the trial, explaining that “The pilot was very successful for engagement, loyalty, and retention…more than one of our team members has called [the four-day work week] life-changing.” Yes friends, the benefits of the four-day work week paradigm are numerous, and as 4 Day Week Global’s efforts continue to pick up speed, more companies around the world will have to follow suit if they want to continue to attract talent.
As always, we will provide updates on 4 Day Week Global’s ongoing six-month trials as they become available, so make sure you check back often. With regards to whether the positive results of these trials are fleeting, Dr. Dale Whelehan, CEO of 4 Day Week Global had this to say: “A concern we frequently hear is the novelty will eventually wear off and performance will dwindle, but here we are a year later with benefits only continuing to grow. A promising result for the future of the movement.”