Working hours are continuing to fall at organisations that took part in a four-day week pilot programme for six months, a year after they launched the trial.
Research by 4 Day Week Global found that participating companies experienced an average drop of nearly a full hour from the end of their trial, from a 38-hour baseline to 32.97 hours.
According to the non-profit organisation, the reduction was not down to greater work intensity over the four working days but because of more efficiency, with individuals improving these capabilities as the year progressed.
Dr Dale Whelehan, CEO of 4 Day Week Global, said: “We’re delighted to see the positive experience people continue to have with the four-day week beyond the conclusion of our pilot programme. A concern we frequently hear is there’s no way the results from our six-month trials can be maintained, as the novelty eventually must wear off, but here we are a year later with benefits only continuing to grow. This is very promising for the sustainability of this model, and we look forward to tracking companies’ experiences well into the future.”
The study further showed that employees remained positive about their experience with the four-day week, with the nine-out-of-10 rating unchanged from the end of the trial. They also reported better physical and mental health measures, as well as higher work-life balance scores.
Lead researcher, Professor Juliet Schor of Boston College, said: “Life satisfaction scores remained stable with no significant change from the trial’s endpoint to the 12-month mark. However, job satisfaction showed a slight regression after a year. This suggests the positive effects a four-day week has on life satisfaction may be more deeply embedded in individuals’ overall wellbeing than in job satisfaction alone. Nonetheless, job satisfaction scores remained higher than baseline.”
Jon Leland, chief strategy officer at US-based Kickstarter, which launched its four-day week in 2021, added: “The most profound impact was on employee retention. We’ve seen very few people choose to depart the company since the implementation of our four-day week. This has dramatically improved our ability to meet objectives and key results every quarter. While we were lucky to hit 70% prior to our pilot, we now hit more than 90%. It’s easy to think that a company might have to sacrifice some ambition to implement a four-day week, but we have only increased the scale of our ambition since its adoption.”