A pilot programme has discovered that a four-day working week is viable, with organisers insisting the results show it “improves work-life balance and supports healthier habits”.
Carried out in the UK by 4 Day Week Global, a non-profit organisation, along with think-tank Autonomy and UK’s 4 Day Week Campaign, the programme found that almost all employers plan to maintain the four-day week pattern post-trial.
Following the six-month pilot, 91% of participants said they will definitely continue with the working arrangement, with a further 4% admitting they are leaning towards continuing. Just 4% will definitely not continue with it.
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, global programs director at 4 Day Week Global, said: “The UK results provide further confirmation that the four-day week is viable across a variety of industries, in for-profit and non-profit enterprises, and that it delivers benefits to organisations and workers alike.”
Participating companies scored their overall experience 8.5/10 on average, with business productivity and performance each rated 7.5/10. Organisational revenue increased by more than a third (35%) during the trial, compared to similar periods in the previous year, while hiring rose and absenteeism reduced.
The researchers further discovered that employees’ health and wellbeing also improved, with physical and mental health significantly improving, as well as time spent exercising and general satisfaction with life and work. Rates of stress, fatigue and burnout dropped, while sleep problems also declined.
Soojung-Kim Pang added: “By encouraging people to cooperate to find ways to work more effectively, it both empowers workers and boosts collaboration. By giving people more time, it improves work-life balance and supports healthier habits. And by creating an incentive to find ways to become more efficient and use time better, it helps companies be more productive, and work more sustainable.”
However, Vickie Graham, business development director at the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals, believes employers should give serious consideration to the implications of introducing a four-day working week.
She warned: “A move to a four-day working week may sound inviting, but employers need to be mindful that although employees will only be working 80% of their contracted time, employers are required to continue 100% of pay. This does however, come with the added commitment from employees that they will deliver 100% of the output.
“In the midst of this cost-of-living crisis, employers need to weigh up if the retention tool of offering a four-day working week to employees, outweighs the cost implications of continuing to pay people for a five-day working week.”
More than 60 businesses and nearly 3,000 employees took part in the latest trial, during which workers’ earnings were not reduced. A total of 91 companies and about 3,500 workers have now completed the global campaign’s pilot.