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FutureStarrUK Four-Day Workweek Trial Results Revealed
The UK has recently begun what is believed to be the world's largest four-day workweek trial. A six month pilot scheme involves 3,300 workers across 70 companies working 80% of their usual week for 100% pay.
This experiment is being run by nonprofit 4 Day Week Global in collaboration with Autonomy, a think tank, and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College. Data collected from this experiment will be used to measure productivity levels, gender equality and employee wellbeing.
Many employees have long lamented working too much, and some campaigners suggest a shorter workweek could be the key to increasing productivity. Countries such as the UK, Spain and Belgium have all run four-day workweek trials with positive results.
One of the primary advantages to a four-day workweek is its potential impact on employee wellbeing. Studies have demonstrated that employees with less stress from work or family can be more productive and resilient; they also sleep better, eat healthier meals and spend quality time with their families.
In the UK, more than 70 companies are currently testing a four-day workweek. Led by nonprofit 4 Day Week Global and researchers from Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University, this pilot has resulted in more than 3,300 workers across the country receiving one paid day off every week.
Though the six-month trial is still in its early stages, a recent survey found that most participants say it "works well" for their company. According to UK's Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), more than half of participating businesses have reported no loss in productivity since starting the trial.
According to the trial's findings, over 80% of participants have seen their revenue grow. Furthermore, fewer employees experienced illnesses or quit during the experiment period.
A four-day working week has been proven to attract and retain talent. So much so, Atom Bank in London and Wonderlust Group - an outdoor tech firm - are both considering making the change permanent.
According to employees who took part in a four-day working week trial, 71% reported reduced levels of burnout while 39% experienced decreased stress. Furthermore, some claimed they had more time for personal activities and hobbies which allowed them to recharge and feel happier overall.
In the UK, 70 companies are taking part in a six-month trial of a four-day working week. Run by 4 Day Week Global and Autonomy think tank with researchers at Cambridge University, Boston College and Oxford University, this initiative seeks to determine whether such workweeks can increase productivity levels, promote gender equality and protect the environment.
Four-day workweeks have several advantages for employees, such as improved morale and work-life balance. Studies have demonstrated that shorter work weeks lead to reduced employee burnout, improved productivity, fewer sick days - all of which contribute to a contented workforce.
Research has indicated that workers with shorter work weeks tend to take time off and use it for non-work related activities like family trips or hobbies. For instance, UK-based environmental consultancy Tyler Grange provides its staff a day a month off to volunteer at wildlife trusts - giving employees the chance to do something they enjoy while making more time for family and friends.
In a collaborative effort between Oxford University, Boston College, Autonomy (a research organization focused on the future of work) and 4 Day Week Global nonprofit community, researchers tested how companies from marketing to finance to nonprofits would respond to a reduced workweek while keeping pay levels unchanged. After the trial period ended, 71% of employees reported less burnout, 39% less stressed and 48% more satisfied with their jobs overall.
These results are supported by other countries which have already implemented four-day workweek trials, such as Iceland where over 90% of workers have received reduced hours or other accommodations since 2015. Iceland's economy has grown significantly during its trial, with worker stress and burnout decreasing and work-life balance improving.
At the same time, a four-day workweek helps reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions - making it an important tool in combatting climate change. In 2011, Simon Ursell and the three co-founders of Tyler Grange implemented an initiative where all employees would get one day off a month to volunteer for wildlife trusts; and it has proven highly successful.
Unity also provided their team members with the freedom to pursue hobbies, fulfill long-held ambitions or simply invest more time into their relationships. Emily Morrison - an account director at Unity who has dealt with anxiety for most of her adult life - found that having a shorter workweek gave her more time for relaxation and recharge before facing the hectic week ahead.
Three and a half months ago, the UK launched the world's largest four-day workweek trial. Thousands of employees from 70 different companies, from small neighborhood pubs to multinational corporations, received 100% pay for working 80 percent of their normal schedule.
The concept is to get employees to work fewer hours but still produce the same level of output. Trials have been conducted around the world, and an increasing number of companies are considering making the switch.
Employee Retention: The majority of UK 4-day workweek trial participants have indicated they plan to stick with the new schedule. This is because studies showed significant benefits in worker health and productivity when their working hours were reduced, including a drop in quitting or calling out sick rates.
In addition to relieving stress, the shift helped people maintain health and happiness - which in turn increased business morale. Furthermore, it allowed them to spend more time with family or other interests, leading to happier employees with greater productivity levels.
According to a survey conducted by 4 Day Week Global, 63% of businesses surveyed found it easier to recruit and retain employees after switching to a four-day workweek policy. Atom Bank, which implemented its policy in 2021, saw 500% more applications than before while Wonderlust Group--an outdoor tech company--saw an 800% boost in applications after making the change.
Though the UK 4-day workweek trial was a huge success, there is room for improvement. Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, pledged funding for further pilots in 2023 and IPPR Scotland senior research fellow Rachel Statham stressed the need to test this new schedule "in all kinds of workplaces" to gain an accurate picture of its effectiveness.
Before transitioning to a four-day workweek, employers must guarantee employees have an open space to discuss changes with management and their families. Furthermore, employers should provide adequate training for managers and employees about the implications of the new schedule on payroll as well as its effects on business operations. During this trial period, companies can determine if it works best for them and make necessary modifications before making it permanent.
After more than half a year of the world's largest four-day workweek trial, results show workers are more contented and less stressed at their jobs, according to a report released this week by 4 Day Week Global and its collaborators at Cambridge University, Boston College and University College Dublin.
This report examined the experiences of 3,300 employees at 70 different businesses, from financial services to fast-casual restaurants. For six months, workers received 100% pay for working 80% of their normal hours and tested whether this improved their health and productivity levels.
According to Simon Ursell, co-founder of environmental consultancy Tyler Grange, their project was a great success. Not only did they keep staff contented but they were also able to reduce their carbon footprint and cut back on travel expenses.
At the end of its test period, nearly everyone at Tyler Grange expressed a desire to continue the compressed schedule. Now the company is considering how to make it permanent - an important step on its path toward a more sustainable future.
Though there were some challenges during the six-month trial period, overall it was a positive experience for employees and companies alike. Indeed, 97% of businesses that took part said they would likely or extremely likely continue with a four-day workweek in the future.
The four-day workweek has been found to increase employee engagement and decrease absenteeism. Furthermore, it reduces commute time, enabling workers to spend more quality family time together, which in turn leads to greater job satisfaction overall.
The UK four-day workweek trial is just the latest example of an increasingly global trend towards shorter work weeks. Iceland, for instance, has been running a four-day workweek scheme since 2015 that has had an enormous positive effect on workplace wellbeing.
Other countries where the four-day workweek has been tested include Spain, Sweden, Belgium and New Zealand. All have seen positive outcomes for employees and employers alike - though not all governments have supported the initiative.
Many people value having a job that provides them with satisfaction and freedom from work stress as one of the most essential elements in their life. A shorter working week can give employees this time without compromising productivity, as well as the chance to take time off for other pursuits such as spending quality time with family or volunteering in the community.