Almost 3,000 employees participated in the pilot, which was carried out between June and December 2022 by the non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global, in collaboration with the Autonomy research group and researchers from Boston College and the University of Cambridge. .
In that period of time, companies that tried the four-day work week had more revenue and fewer attrition. The benefits were also felt among the majority of workers, who reported less burnout, fewer negative emotions, and more satisfaction with their work-life balance.
The companies were encouraged to keep their workers’ wages the same during the experiment, but were free to use various methods to cut work time, from giving one day off a week to reducing work hours to 32.
According to the published results, the employees were the big winners in the study, which offered them a variety of benefits in aspects related to sleep quality, stress levels, personal life and mental health. That is probably the reason why the resignations decreased.
More than half of the workers surveyed said the four-day workweek increased their capacity, and 71% said it reduced burnout. Around 40% felt less stressed and improved their mental health, and 54% experienced fewer negative emotions.
“Overall job and life satisfaction is higher, with employees reporting lower rates of burnout and better physical and mental health. People also have less trouble sleeping and exercise more,” the report read.
The companies’ revenues “stayed about the same” during the six months, but increased by 35% on averagecompared to similar periods of previous years.
Of the 61 companies, 56 (92%) said they would continue to implement four-day work weeks after the pilot ended, and 18 guaranteed the change would be permanent.
Can it be implemented globally?
During the 2022 World Economic Forum, a discussion panel was formed to address these conversations. In previous years, US-based companies such as Microsoft and the Shake Shack restaurant chain have tried the four-day work week with some success.
In a 2019 test, Microsoft said productivity increased by 40%, but the numbers weren’t enough for the tech giant to permanently embrace the change.
“With the explosion of technology and the increase in worker productivity, it is time to move towards a four-day work week without loss of wages. Workers should benefit from technology, not just CEOs,” Senator Bernie Sander tweeted about the study.
This is not the first time that a four-day work week has caught the attention of lawmakers in the US: the Congressional Progressive Caucus endorsed a “32-Hour Work Week Act” in December 2021.
Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal said at the time that “it is time to put individuals and communities above corporations and their profits, ultimately prioritizing health, well-being and basic human dignity.”