Most UK Firms Stick With 4-Day Work Week After World’s Biggest Trial

The revolutionary concept of a four-day working week has been cemented into the culture of most companies that participated in what is considered the world’s largest trial of this new work schedule. Insights from a recent study reveal that an overwhelming majority have embraced the shorter workweek as a permanent fixture.

In 2022, a pilot involving 61 British companies was launched to gauge the viability of a condensed workweek. Findings from a subsequent study, carried out a year later and led by think tank Autonomy, indicate that 89% of these companies still uphold the four-day schedule. Impressively, over half of the businesses have declared the policy change permanent.

Company executives engaged in the follow-up research reported unanimously that the shift towards a shorter working week has cast a positive shadow over their establishments. A notable 55% of project managers and CEOs gave glowing reviews, stating the change was “very positive.”

Statistics from the surveyed entities echo the sentiment that the benefits of this overhaul extend widely, affecting various facets of business health. Eighty-two percent of the companies observed significant improvements in employee wellbeing. Furthermore, half have seen a downturn in staff turnover with a notable 32% citing enhanced recruitment as a direct outcome of the policy.

Juliet Schor, the sociologist behind the report and a respected academic at Boston College, underlined the durability of the trial’s favorable results. Schor underscored the sustained and improving impact of reduced working hours on several quality-of-life markers for employees, including physical and mental health and overall work-life balance. She also pointed out consistent improvements regarding job burnout and life satisfaction, though job satisfaction and sleep issue metrics saw slight declines.

The evidence, as presented by Schor, suggests that the advantages of a four-day workweek are not momentary spikes in productivity or satisfaction but rather long-term gains. This revelation could potentially herald a paradigm shift in the global discussion of work-life balance and the future of the workforce.