9 in 10 U.K. employers keen to continue 4-day work week

'This is an innovation which works for many types of organisations'

9 in 10 U.K. employers keen to continue 4-day work week

A majority of British businesses that took part in a large four-day work week trial in 2022 said they are continuing the scheme.

In 2022, 61 companies and around 2,900 workers participated in the trial in the United Kingdom from June to December 2022.

And this year, it has been revealed by the 4 Day Week Global that 92% of participating employers are continuing the scheme, while 90% of employees say they want it to keep going.

"Of the five companies who are not [continuing the scheme], two have opted to extend their trials and three are pausing the for the moment," the report said.

Employers' seal of approval on the four-day work week scheme came as they reaped positive results during their experience — with business performance and productivity scoring an average of 7.5 out of 10.

Revenue rose by 1.4% on average, added the report, and when compared to a similar period from previous years, revenue increases were at 35% on average.

Overall, British companies gave their four-day work week experience an 8.3 rating out of 10. 

How did the four-day work week affect staff?

The four-day work week trial also pushed down the number of employees leaving by 57%, while 55% of staff reported an increase in their ability at work, according to the report.

It also impacted employees' employer preferences, with 15% saying that "no amount of money would make them accept a five-day schedule at their next job."

In terms of health and well-being, the report also saw a positive impact among participating employees

  • Reduced levels of burnout (71%)
  • Less fatigue (46%)
  • Improved mental health (43%)
  • Fewer sleeping difficulties (40%)
  • Less stressed (39%)
  • Improved physical health (37%)

In terms of work-life balance, 73% of employees said they had greater satisfaction with their time, with 62% saying it was easier to combine work with social life.

Another 60% said they had more ability to combine paid work with care responsibilities, with men reporting a high increase in terms of time to look after their children (27%).

Charlotte Lockhart, co-founder and managing director of the 4 Day Week Global, said they are "delighted" to add UK's results to the findings in favour of a four-day work week.

"We look forward to adding our Australasian pilot results to this data set in the coming weeks and our European, South African, Brazilian and North American results in the coming months," Lockhart said in a statement.

Overall findings

The findings from UK's trial adds to the conclusions garnered from the previous US and Ireland trials.

Across the trials carried out so far, 91% of organisations are continuing their four-day work week, with overall satisfaction ratings at 8.1 out of 10.

"Results are largely steady across workplaces of varying sizes, demonstrating this is an innovation which works for many types of organisations," said Boston College Professor Juliet Schor, a lead researcher of the campaign.

"There are also some interesting differences. We found that employees in non-profits and professional services had a larger average increase in time spent exercising, while those in construction/manufacturing enjoyed the largest reductions in burnout and sleep problems."

There were also reported gender differences in the four-day work week, with women's experience "generally better," according to 4 Day Week Global CEO Dale Whelehan.

"This is the case for burnout, life and job satisfaction, mental health, and reduced commuting time. Encouragingly, the burden of non-work duties appears to be balancing out, with more men taking on a greater share of housework and childcare."

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